merciful love

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Have you ever desired something magnificent, but reeled in your imagination so you don’t end up disappointed?

As I watched the French countryside rolling past me with ease and grandeur for hours, strokes of tiny golden yellow blossoms illuminated the fields.

Mustard plants. Millions of them. And I couldn’t help but recall,

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

“Mountains, eh?” I whispered to the Pyrenees. I could almost here Jesus chuckling, saying, “Did I stutter?”

“Have your way with me, Lord,” I prayed. He gently sang to me…

Let all who thirst, let them come to the water.
Let all who seek, let them come to the water.
Let all who toil, let them come to the water. 
Let all who are weary, let them come to the water. 
– Matt Maher

I came to the water. The water that millions make pilgrimage to from all ends of the earth in an act of faith. Men and women of every race and age sacrifice time, money, and ease to make way to the grotto of healing anticipating a miracle.

We stood in line waiting to grasp a single drop seeping from the rock. This is what it must have been like as Jesus walked the earth performing signs and wonders, I thought to myself.

I envisioned the outstretched arm straining to touch the edge of his cloak. The man climbing into the heights of a tree to catch a glimpse of the action. Crying and wailing for loved ones to be saved from the pains of disease. Lowering mats through rooftops to grab the attention of the one who restores sight to the blind and commands the lame to get up and walk.

The depth of desire hung over me like a thickened fog. Peering into their eyes, and watching their boldness of faith, I stepped into the mystery to find my place.

I, too, felt desire. I let the layers slip away.

I stepped in.

“I believe in love,” I said, as I made the sign of the cross claiming my identity – a beloved daughter. Water crashed over my shoulders as I looked up at the tender gaze of our Blessed Mother. A surge of Jesus’ mercy rushing through my limbs, every fiber of my being.

“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers crash over me.” Psalm 42:7

Nothing left untouched or unchanged. Waves of grace found the hidden, darkened places. Every cavern of my soul filled with his purifying, merciful love.

Risen with my Hope, unbound of weariness, physical pain, and spiritual sorrow. My racing mind was put at ease, in perfect stillness, and I felt lighter, freer, happier – a new creation.

An external manifestation of my invisible soul.

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!'” Revelation 21:5

I lifted my hands in praise and smiled at his face in the Eucharist, shining brighter than the sun. My sweet, melodious Hope, pried open my heart and conquered me. It’s still a mystery, unraveling with every prayer to reveal a new grace upon the prior.

“Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven…” Luke 1:78

Surrounded by her radiant mantle of protection, the joy of the resurrection is alive, falling afresh on me. His perfect love unveils a new dawn.

I am witness to miracles, within and around.

Caught up in the grandeur of your gaze, I renew my vow, “I believe in love.”

open space

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“Fear makes me shrink back, but love makes me come forward – or rather, I fly!” – St. Therese of Lisieux

I daydreamed of traveling to France to trace the steps of St. Therese. It felt out of reach. Between the expenses, time, distance, and the mere complexity of coordinating the trip amidst everything else going on in my life, I dismissed the idea as quickly as it came to me. Months passed. It was time to make an annual silent retreat.

The dream nonchalantly fluttered in and out of my consciousness. I couldn’t come up with an alternative that affected my heart in the same way. The Holy Spirit pressed in, telling me to pay attention, to not be unaffected.

Long story short, it is a miracle that it’s fallen into place. I decided to jump, and then I flew.

So much awaits me.

Mass with the Carmelites in the church where St. Therese worshiped, visiting her childhood home, train rides through the French countryside, sacred silence and adoration, not to mention walking with Jesus to the cross through Holy Week with the culmination of Easter at Lourdes.

I can still come up with a million excuses for why it’s the wrong time and impractical for me to make a silent retreat abroad.

But love drew me forward. Specifically, the heart of Jesus did.

He keeps showing me how expansive his heart is, and in turn, he expands mine. Just when I feel like I’ve come to a place of contentment, he touches the limitation of my human heart with his divinity.

Jesus shows me the open space.

He says there is more. More beauty, more adventure, more sacrifice, more mercy, more suffering, more joy, more intimacy.

But how can it be?

Listen to the words of our Lord…

“My Divine Heart is so passionately inflamed with love… that, not being able any longer to contain within Itself the flames of Its ardent charity, It must let them spread abroad through your means, and manifest Itself to man, that they may be enriched with Its precious treasures which I unfold to you, and which contain the sanctifying and salutary graces that are necessary to hold them back from the abyss of ruin.”
Apparition of our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, December 27, 1673

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is passionately inflamed with love for you, with innumerable treasures that he desires to bestow upon you. There is open space in your heart.
When you recognize this space, what do you do with it?

Do you shrink back in fear, or do you let it propel you forward?

I’ve chosen the former before. It’s safer and easier. But it’s accompanied with a tinge of disappointment and what ifs.

This time, I’ve chosen the latter. I want to feel the warmth of his heart burn with desire inside the open space of mine.

Make an act of faith with me. Ask Jesus to pull you closer to his heart to have his way with you. Let yourself move forward, closer than ever before. Open yourself wide before the heart of your Savior.

Fly with me.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:4-7