Jesus seeks great intimacy with you
Adapted from a talk by a Catholic who wishes to remain anonymous
Our Lord says, “Here”, in answer to His own question, “Do you think that I have come to establish peace? No, I have not come to establish peace but rather division.” It’s very important for Our Lord, the Prince of Peace, to be very clear about the kind of peace He comes to establish. He is the Prince of Peace, even though He doesn’t sound like it here, but even more, He’s the King of Love. And the peace that Our Lord brings is the peace that has to be rooted in love. That was St. Paul’s prayer. He was praying for the Ephesians and praying for us, that you, that we, would be rooted and grounded in love, that we would know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge. He’s inviting us into a deep mystery here. We’re supposed to know something that we can’t know. Perhaps we’re supposed to know this love of Christ in the Biblical sense of knowing, a greater intimacy, a deeper encounter.
The Missionaries of Charity have a sign in their sacristy – this is for the priests as they prepare, putting on their vestments, doing their prayers, in preparation for Holy Mass – the sign by the crucifix says “Love to be true, has to hurt.” My, you don’t have to be more specific when you say that. “Love to be true, has to hurt.” And this love in which we are being rooted and which is being grounded in us is a love that grabs us by the heart and hurts.
I’ve seen that love especially when it grasps hold of someone and causes this kind of division – the exact kind of division that Our Lord describes here when a young woman is called to give herself completely to the Lord by entering religious life, the consecrated life – when she becomes His bride. It’s such a beautiful thing. She’s grasped by the heart and drawn into the intimacy of that life lived in love with Christ. But I’ve marveled at the divisions this causes. In fact, in my life as a priest, nothing has caused greater controversy or challenge. I have received more objections about this than anything else I’ve done – than by encouraging young women to enter the convent. The mothers – not all the mothers – the fathers – oh my goodness – I had to tell one, she had to warn me when he came to town! The violent reaction – “How could you?” they might say to me, “encourage her to throw away a college education? Shouldn’t she take care of those types of worldly concerns? Is she really going to leave me, her mother for Him?” They don’t know that love, it hasn’t grasped them yet – this kind of love that takes over everything and throws all away for Him.
This is what happens at Holy Mass, we encounter this love. It’s what happens in adoration, this love is enkindled within us. St. Jose Maria Escriva, the Founder of Opus Dei said, “You need a heart that is in love – not an easy life to achieve happiness” – “a heart that is in love – not an easy life to achieve happiness” – because those two things are often incompatible – a heart that is in love and an easy life. Our Lord is very clear here. The peace that He comes to bring, the love that He draws us into, is not meant to bring us peace as the world knows it – a kind of comfort and ease that makes everything nice and neat. He grasps hold by the heart and it causes division especially with anyone who doesn’t know this love, who doesn’t know Him in that way, they wouldn’t understand. They can’t understand. How could they? But how could we? Let’s be honest. We barely taste it. We just get the merest glimmer of this love but it’s enticing us, it’s enticing you, or you wouldn’t be here. You wouldn’t go and gaze at Him in adoration. You wouldn’t pray with Him there. Something is stirring in your heart. It’s that love. Will you surrender to it? You’ll see it there on the altar. You’ll see it in a Eucharistic chapel.
“I’ve come to set the earth on fire and how I wish it were already blazing!” Well, He set it on fire and now it’s blazing! You’ll see that fire in His Sacred Heart. You know the image, the Sacred Heart of Jesus burns with love for all mankind – there’s that fire. His Love is True, the truest love the world has ever known. But St. Teresa of Calcutta was right. “Love to be true has to hurt” and how it hurts HIM! How can you, how can we, expect to have some kind of easy love when we see HIS poured out here, and here – poured out on the Cross – poured out on the altar, spent for us, loving us to the end?
And then her heart, it didn’t have to be that way, except for love, but because of love, it had to be that way. That she would enter so deeply into the mystery of the love of her Son, that in His saving death, her heart would be pierced, pierced by the sword and enflamed, enflamed with Love.
You need a heart in love and a heart that hurts. Those two things go together. And we’re here because we want to love more. We want to know Him more. We want to know this love that we cannot know, and so we don’t learn about it. He doesn’t teach it to us. He shows it to us. He gives it to us. We will receive it in Holy Communion. When you receive Holy Communion, every time you receive Holy Communion, He gives you a little piece of HIS HEART – and that HEART comes to your heart if it’s open to Him. Tonight, especially tonight, let’s invite Him there. Tonight isn’t a night for learning. It isn’t a night for Our Lord to teach us. It is a night for LOVING – for Him to show us, for Him to give us. It’s for you to receive and for all of us to surrender. HIS HEART is enflamed. Her Heart is pierced. May our hearts fall in love and grasp Him by THE HEART and let Him grasp us by the heart that He might enflame our hearts with HIS LOVE and draw us deeper and deeper into the MYSTERY OF HIS LOVE.
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