Today I learned that the Latin root word for courage is 'cor' or heart, and I think of the young girl who was told to rest her head upon His breast, to take His heart for her own. While adoring our Lord in the exposed Eucharist, He came. He showed His heart to her and asked her to spread devotion and love to Him through His Sacred Heart, pierced for our sins and on fire with love for all. He gave her a special friend, Fr. Claude de la Columbierre, SJ, to be her spiritual director and to help her promote this devotion. And reflecting upon the experience that St. Margaret Mary had with our Blessed Savior, I am inspired to take heart in my own life.
I've had a few rough weeks at work recently that included some difficulty getting along with co-workers resulting in misunderstandings, humiliating treatment from my supervisor, and the need to own up to my own sinfulness and mistakes that contributed to those problems. On top of that, the kids have been bringing home more than the usual difficulties from their schooldays like excessive projects that require the purchase of seasonal items that are hard to find at this time of year and their own misunderstandings with their teachers.
But God; God knows what to do to ease my worries and sufferings. He shows me that it's important to 'take heart' through the trials at work, because the clients that I serve, well, they really need and benefit from the WIC program and I so enjoy serving God by listening to the concerns and worries of these young mothers and by showing them a little compassion and care to help them meet the burdens of raising their families in poverty. And just when things seem black and ugly and I begin to wonder if I would be better off searching for a new job, He sends me some very special women who share their gratitude for the WIC program with me and my heart melts, and I remember the passion I have for my work, and begin to forget about the behind-the-scenes stress.
And then, as if He feels that He needs to prove His love to me beyond the visits from grateful women at work, He gives me a tangible sign, something that I can always hold on to when the going gets rough, something that will easily cause me to "take heart."
During the past year, I have been developing a particularly DEEP devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Last June, during the month of the Feast of the Sacred Heart, I began a Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and on the second day of the Novena, I was blessed to find a red piece of sea glass that looks just like a heart with a gash in the side where sword of steel pierced the heart of my Lord. In gratitude for this precious sign, my family and I enthroned our home and consecrated ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus with the help of a very special priest. I feel that Jesus' heart, throbbing with love, letting drops of precious blood fall with every pulsing beat for me, blood that saves me from my sinful nature and purifies me-slowly, steadily, unceasingly-is forever united to my own, and He uses his Sacred Heart to give me rest and to keep me close to Him by guiding me to others who also have a DEEP devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
So, when God united me in friendship with Fr. Jim Kubicki, SJ, it was no mere coincidence. I believe that God meant to bring Fr. Jim into my life because He knew that this was a man whose own heart beat in constant love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus and all of the mysteries and beauty contained within that lovely vessel stabbed through to the very center and crowned, not with gemstones, but with sharp, prickling thorns. Jesus knew that Fr. Jim would encourage and nurture my devotion to His Sacred Heart, and through him and his kind and gentle words and beautiful loving actions, I would delve ever more DEEPLY into the world of love contained within His Most Sacred Heart. Recently I had shared a beautiful story with him from the blog Evlogia about a relic of the Holy Innocents. I told him that I wish that I had a relic of a special saint that would look over me with love and care, someone that I could turn to in times of need and look up to as a role model in faith.
Today my sisters and I spent some time helping at the Apostleship of Prayer's monthly volunteer day. After Mass and a pleasant morning spent working and visiting with the other volunteers, Fr. Jim, who is the National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer, told me that he had something very special for me. It was a relic of St. Margaret Mary, the very saint to whom Jesus entrusted His Most Sacred Heart devotions! He said that he was so happy to share the relic with me because of my own devotion to the Sacred Heart and because he felt that with this relic, St. Margaret Mary would help me to fall DEEPER into love with Jesus, to move DEEPER in hope and joy and faith to the very heart of God. At the very moment when Fr. Jim placed the relic in my hands, I felt a shift in my own heart, a DEEPENING, an awareness of the presence and love of God like I had never known before.
With this gift, I take courage; I take heart, and feel as though I have spent time resting on His breast just like St. Margaret Mary did. I am renewed and I know that with the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I do not need to fear trials at work or difficulties with my children and their education; I know that His perfect love will cast out all of my fears and together both Jesus and I will strengthen our wounded hearts until the day when we are permanently united in heaven with hearts that beat in unison for all of eternity.
"From the DEPTH of my nothingness, I prostrate myself before Thee, O Most Sacred, Divine and Adorable Heart of Jesus, to pay Thee all the homage of love, praise and adoration in my power. Amen." - - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque