[What follows is an article I wrote more than two years ago in hopes it might stir interest in, and devotion to, Jesus' Most Sacred Heart.]
When God created us, He inserted a heart within our chest, the mechanism that He made to pump blood and oxygen throughout our bodies. We all have one. Most of us rarely take notice of its rhythmic beats. It's there but we pay little or no conscious attention to it - much like many of us have done to God - we know He's 'there' but ignore Him. We take Him for granted.
CANASTOTA, NY - Of course in the case of our physical heart that situation changes if
something happens to it. In that instance, you bet we become much more
attentive to and aware of it. We can't live without it.
So where am I going with this? Let me explain.
The daily readings one summer day in 2008 included a passage from Ezekiel (3:23-28), in which God promised to transform the prophet and to give him a new heart and a new spirit so that Ezekiel would be able to lead others to Him. Through this Scripture passage, the Lord let me recognize how frequently my words and actions may have caused others to walk away from the God I professed to love.
See our beautiful rosaries now
I asked Him right then and there for the grace to surrender my entire being to Him and to allow Him to use me as He willed. The very next day, I had a heart attack. He spared my life, opened three blocked arteries and gave me the new heart and spirit He promised Ezekiel and for which I had prayed the previous day. From time to time since then, I have asked myself: "What have I done with this new heart? Has anyone seen a difference in the way I have lived my life?" I am not always pleased with the answers these questions evoke.
Each of us also has a spiritual heart - one which God provides and sustains as well and which He intends we use to love Him and others on His behalf. This heart too is one often ignored and inadequately exercised. We cannot live eternally without it.
God had opened the blockages that impeded blood from reaching my physical heart, but knew my spiritual heart also needed some mending. Some time after my heart attack, through the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, He reminded me, of two often forgotten truths: that His Sacred Heart is the source of all love and that He hungers to be loved in return:
'Behold this heart, which has loved men so much, that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself in order to testify to them its love; and in return I receive from the greater number nothing but ingratitude by reason of their irreverence and sacrileges, and by the coldness and contempt which they show me in the sacrament of love.'
Had I adequately expressed my gratitude to this loving God who had chosen to spare my earthly life? I knew that He wanted more than mere words. He wanted me to love Him and all whom He has created as I had never before loved Him or them. But how was I to do this? 'Teach me to love,'I prayed. His response: repeated promptings to consecrate myself and my family to His Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of His Blessed Mother Mary. And, like I have done so many times in my life, I kept putting Him off. I knew He Who is Love deserved this. I knew my family and I would benefit from it. So why procrastinate? I had no valid answer. But our God is persistent and patient!
After much too long a delay, I did what God had requested me to do - my wife and I consecrated ourselves, our home and family to His Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of His Mother. This consecration is still a work in progress. But we have begun. The Lord of Lords and Kings of Kings and His Mother are now prominently enthroned in a place of honor in our home, immediately visible to all who enter - a constant and permanent reminder of the promises we made to Him and to Her.
Finally, I had obeyed! I was headed in the right direction. But He was not done with me.
The very day of this act of consecration, I went to spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament. As I was leaving my house, I was prompted to pick up a book I had not read in some time - Holy Hours by Concepcion Cabrera de Armida.
Instead of reciting a rosary after arriving at church as I had planned, I opened that book to a page I had never viewed and where several weeks earlier I had left a bookmark. What follows is (in part) what I read:
'Do you want to give Me what I ask you for today?...I want you to enter into My Heart. I want you to be there, hidden, silent, anonymous, drinking, absorbing its substance, icing from its life. That is the waiting room to heaven, that is heaven itself, that is infinite LOVE. O Yes, tell me you are willing, tell me that from now on and without delay, you are going to learn to be humble, to be pure, to be crucified so as to assimilate yourself to Me. What do you answer Me?'
I was dumbstruck. A tear or two fell down my cheeks. How could I say No? But how would I ever be able to do what He was asking of me? I had been unable or unwilling to do far less. How? I am going to rely on Him and try.
There have been times (too many) during the past two years when I have failed to fulfill the promises I made. When I become conscious of that failing, I ask God to forgive me and start anew, knowing that He still wishes me (and each of you) to enter into His Sacred Heart.
How about you? Do you hear His promptings as well? Isn't this the perfect time to check out your heart and enter His?
Light a virtual candle and say a prayer
By Tara K. E. Brelinsky
Fingering the rosary, I thought about how it would forever be tethered in my memory to Adam's funeral and to that thoughtful stranger who entered my life for only a few minutes. I reflected on how a connection, even though brief, leaves behind an imprint capable ... continue reading
By James Littleton
Mothers are by far the most beautiful creatures in the world. There is nothing more beautiful than a mother. There has never been a beauty pageant winner more beautiful than a pregnant woman. A pregnant woman glows with the grace of God. She is one with God. Her love ... continue reading
By Jackie Stammen
Encourage others to become who they were created to become, not who YOU want them to become. NASHVILLE, TN - About a half a year ago I wrote this thought down on a piece of paper with the intention for it to be a blog post...eventually. In light of my last two posts, ... continue reading
By by Justin Soutar
Thirteen years ago, America suffered a coordinated and devastating terrorist assault by wicked agents of a Middle Eastern foreign power. Today America is again under attack-not just by violent religious fanatics from without, but by the forces of immorality and radical ... continue reading
By Mary Botha
There is a feeling that every parent, at one point or another has nightmares about. That cold, lost helpless feeling...almost like drowning, but then they get to wake up. I clearly remember the day my husband and I felt that feeling. Only our nightmare, we did not get ... continue reading
By Wendy RN., BA, MBA
Every year I pull out my favorite fish recipes that I save for Lenten Friday meals. Here are my top 5 that I love. I know that your families will love them too! LOS ANGELES, CA - Here are my top 5 favorite fish recipes that can be prepared in 30 min. or less.Feel free ... continue reading
By Jackie Stammen
Two days ago I wrote a post called, 'Shine, Child, Shine!' about being fully you, just as you were created to be and how important it is for each one of us to live authentically as ourselves. NASHVILLE, TN - I also acknowledged a tendency to allow fear to slip in and ... continue reading
By Chaplain Adele M. Gill
As today is Ash Wednesday, it seems only fitting to remember the man who asked Jesus, 'What good thing must I do to gain Eternal Life?' Like the man who asked the question, isn't it easy for us to think thatthe way to Jesus and Eternal Life is through good works?But ... continue reading
By Jackie Stammen
The world needs YOU just as you were created. Forget the expectations, facades, and cover-ups. Be you and be fully you. NASHVILLE, TN - You were uniquely crafted with a distinct mixture of specific personality traits and gifts that match those of no other person on ... continue reading
By Wendy RN., BA, MBA
Will you accept my challenge? The Three Pillars of Lent are Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Of these Almsgiving is the most neglected of all! LOS ANGELES, CA - It is common practice for us Catholics to 'give up' something for Lent. It is usually something silly and ... continue reading