“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