Her husband died suddenly. After listening to her heartbreak, this woman, deep in grief, began speaking about the life she and her husband had created. She became animated as she spoke of their family, friends, travels, and adventures. She then saddened and whispered, “But after all these years, I’m not sure I really knew his heart.” Never knew his heart? Her comment shocked me and then led me to reflect on my relationships: “Do I really know the heart of my husband? Of my children, my grandchildren, my friends? Do I know their prayers, desires, hopes, dreams, disappointments, failures, sufferings, and heartaches?” In prayer the next morning, the thought came, “Do I know, really know, the heart of Jesus?”
This Sunday, we read of Matthew’s account of the passion—Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. Though we can learn about Jesus through historical facts and theological teachings, we come to know the heart of Jesus through His passion, which is LOVE—complete, infinite, unconditional, and sacrificial. And knowing His heart helps us to understand that all His teachings, instructions, and miracles lead to the full revelation of Jesus on the cross where He willingly laid down His life for each of us.
John Henry Cardinal Newman described prayer as “Heart speaking to heart.” St. Margaret Mary Alacoque wrote: “Set up your abode in this loving Heart of Jesus ... Place in this Heart all your sufferings and difficulties. Everything that comes from the Sacred Heart is sweet. He changes everything into love.” To know Jesus' heart, pray. Tell Jesus everything in your heart. Keep nothing from Him. Share the concerns that wake you in the night’s dark and the dreams that capture you in the day's light. Speak everything to the heart of Jesus.
As parents/grandparents, we name grace—God’s heartfelt presence--each time we sacrifice for our children, in even the smallest way: giving up screen time for real presence, etc. We discover the hearts of our children through precious time together—one on one—heart speaking to heart through long walks, bedtime chats, playing games, daily highs and lows at the dinner table, and praying with them. Our current social distancing gifts us with the perfect opportunity to listen intently to the hearts of each of our loved ones.
During this time of the pandemic, bring your heart to Jesus, asking Him to care for your loved ones, to be present to those who are sick or dying, and to sustain those who are experiencing unemployment or depression. He is with us. Suffering with those who suffer. Loving each person who’s lonely and isolated. Speaking—as Heart speaks to heart—always and forever with love.
This past week, my siblings and spouses gathered virtually to “check in” during distancing. We also decided to make our chats a time of learning more about each other. Each week, one sibling kick offs our conversation with a question: What is your all-time favorite book? What’s your favorite childhood memory? Etc. Funny, though we’ve known some people “forever,” like siblings, it doesn’t mean we know each other’s hearts fully.
It would be tragic if a loved one died and we never really knew his or her heart, as the human heart longs to be known and loved completely. Thankfully, Jesus answers all our longing and desires for love and draws us into communion—Heart united with heart—especially in the Eucharist. Until we can receive His Body and Blood, Jesus calls us to prayer, where Heart speaks to heart. Now, that’s good news!
How will you grow closer to the hearts of your loved ones?
How does the Passion speak to you about God's love?
Photo by Jonas Friese on Unsplash
Naming Grace in the Domestic Church reflects on Scripture through the lens of a parent/grandparent. To read more reflections or to connect with Mary Pedersen: www.marypedersen.com
The blog on this page presents reflections on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding leaders of the domestic church in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.