Deepest Longing

 

Sacred-Heart-of-Jesus

WHOLE HEARTED VA-LENT-INE

Hey Valentines, let me know if you agree…

I think it’s Heaven’s sense of humor that Valentine’s Day and the beginning of Lent are co-mingled and marked with the sign of an ashy Cross on February 14th, the universal day reserved for love and lovers. I heart this development. There are memes being created that slickly reveal that the “heart” of  Saint Valentine boasts “LENT” after all. {VA-LENT-INE}. Couples and singles bemoan the juxtaposition of the two “feasts.” Some are ah-ha-ing that love is truly a Cross. Some will have no clue at all. What Ashes?

God’s funny. But really, what have we made of love? It seems Heaven’s conspired to point us back to the origin of what Love really is – to consider that the Love of all Loves  condescended to earth and confined Himself in a human womb as a baby, a boy and son of a carpenter, and a man who conformed Himself in radical obedience all the way to Calvary, to be crucified as the ultimate Sacrifice of Love.

There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with celebrating love. It’s good and holy. (bring it on). God himself is the greatest romantic, wooing humanity with a Passion of ultimate proof of Love found in the Cross. Love is a decision, not a feeling. And it’s important to know that Love has a Name: Jesus.

We are about to embark on the holiest season of the Christian year journeying through the 40 days of Lent to Easter. Ash Wednesday is always the kick off so to speak. The beginning of the plunge into the wilderness and a time for metanoia, a turning back from the places we have been scattered, lost and rebellious. The places where we have abandoned His Will for our own. The places in time when we ignored His call. The places of sin and weakness. The vacant places of discouragement, loneliness, delay, loss, lack, abandonment, sickness, pain. It’s a time to enter into Love itself. The Love that wounds itself to reveal the depth of the Lovers love. To know that we have a Savior above all that knows our human hearts, that He has written our Names on His heart. That He let his heart be pierced with a lance to gush blood and water for our sins, a price for our human hearts and our salvation to be one with Him forever. Love with nothing in return.

The longing and ache of the human heart without remembrance to keep God at the center is left only to be frustrated. My contemporary hero, Ven. Fulton J. Sheen is profound on matters of the heart:

But I think the real meaning is that when God made your human heart, He found it so good and so lovable that He kept a small sample of it in heaven. He sent the rest of it into this world to enjoy His gifts, and to use them as stepping stones back to Him, but to be ever mindful that you can never love anything in this world with your whole heart because you have not a whole heart with which to love.

“Look at your heart! It tells the story of why you were made. It is not perfect in shape and contour, like a Valentine Heart. There seems to be a small piece missing out of the side of every human heart. That may be to symbolize a piece that was torn out of the Heart of Christ which embraced all humanity on the Cross. But I think the real meaning is that when God made your human heart, He found it so good and so lovable that He kept a small sample of it in heaven. He sent the rest of it into this world to enjoy His gifts, and to use them as stepping stones back to Him, but to be ever mindful that you can never love anything in this world with your whole heart because you have not a whole heart with which to love. In order to love anyone with your whole heart, in order to be really peaceful, in order to be really wholehearted, you must go back again to God to recover the piece He has been keeping for you from all eternity.”

I love the idea of Lent and St. Valentine’s Day being intertwined. In our culture that has so much longing, oftentimes longing that isn’t rooted in Christ, may everyone discover that this longing is not in vain. It’s a heart cry toward the Creator which necessitates Communion and challenges us to embrace vocations in imitation of this great love. I think that all lovers and prospective lovers have the greatest blessing of 2018 to have their deepest longing be united in imitation with the Divine Lover and a reminder to know that “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

May we be courageous enough to imitate this great Romance.

Praying for you, sweet VA-LENT-INES+ (and if you see my parents around Boston on 2-14, please wish them a happy Valentine Anniversary)  xoxoxo

Lexi

JMJ+

 

{Extra credit: 12 promises of the Sacred Heart}