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The heart of the matter: getting in touch with the Gospel of love

Many of the Saints and mystics have written of the experience of their hearts being captured by Love. Can you remember a time when your heart was captured by the Love of the Divine?

In her dialogues, Catherine of Siena, a 15th-century mystic, shares her experience of being transformed by love. In one of these dialogues, the Divine says to Catherine “Dearest daughter, a few days ago I took your heart from you, now in the same way I give you my own heart. For future, it is by this heart that you must live and act in the world.” “It is by this heart that you must live and act in the world.”

In touch with the heart of God

How do we lean back into the Heart of Christ/the Heart of the Universe?

A number of contemporary authors point the way. Our journey invites us to consider how Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry and Ilia Delio have described the heart of Christ in the world.

Chardin wrote, “it would be difficult for me to convey, how deeply and forcefully my life developed under the sign of the Heart of Jesus.”

Thomas Berry says that the “radiant heart of the Divine is a heart beating in and through 13.7 billion years of the universe unfolding.” He continues to say that we are literally the blood vessels through which this heart beats into the future. What would
it mean for me to see myself as the blood vessels through which the very heart of Jesus continues to beat?

And Ilia Delio offers this: “Every single person on earth desires to love and to be loved; to belong to another in the sharing of life. The power of love to endure pain, suffering and sorrow is so great, that if we lose everything but love we shall possess the fullness of life.”

What is it like for us to experience the heart of God beating in us so powerfully that we have that heart as the source of our life and love energy for the world?

The desire to be like Jesus

Article author and Sisters of Providence Chaplain Father Terry Johnson celebrating Mass on Ash Wednesday 2022 at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

You and I by virtue of our shared humanity desire these same experiences. Our hearts beat with these same desires.

You and I desire to be in union with Jesus especially in the places we find ourselves every day, with the people we serve and the people we love, with all the people of our interconnected world!

Being connected more deeply to our heart and in touch with the love that flows from our heart into our body, mind and spirit has the potential to transform our journey into God’s love for us and our entire world. What is the invitation being nurtured in our hearts so that we might enlarge our love for the life of the world?

The heart of God is alive and well in all of us as we live love, mercy, and justice each day!

Invitation to Contemplative Pause

How do we lean back into the Heart of Christ/the Heart of all that is?

Let us go to our own inner room
(Find a comfortable position, close your eyes, or soften your gaze, notice your breathing, clear your mind as much as you are able)

– I invite you now to place your hand over your heart.

– Feel the rhythmic beat of that beautiful organ that pulses life throughout your body.

– Become aware of the beating of your heart.

– Notice it in your head, arms, legs, and feet.

– Try to imagine that this organ, this beautiful, life-giving creation is the very heart of the God who made you.

– Feel the sacred, holy beat of God within your body.

– Know once again for the first time God’s love for you and how deeply you are connected to the Holy Heart of the Universe.

– Ask that this awareness may deepen and grow in you each and every day.

– As you finish, notice what your heart is feeling, and sit in the presence and love of God.

Originally published in the fall 2022 issue of HOPE magazine.

Find more spiritual resources at Prayers.SistersofProvidence.org

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Fr. Terry Johnson

Father Terry currently serves as chaplain for the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. He serves as a team member of the Spiritual Guidance Training Program at Siena Retreat Center and is an adjunct instructor at Loyola University in Chicago. He also dabbles in Spiritual Direction and supervision for spiritual directors.

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