Resting in His Heart
June, as you may know, is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. You may have seen that mysterious image of the Sacred Heart – a heart burning, crowned with thorns, and a sword piercing its side. When I first saw the image some years ago, I was fascinated, but I didn’t understand its significance. To further clarify, I hadn’t yet come to know in a personal way what the Sacred Heart of Jesus meant to me, or I to it. That would change for me after enduring a difficult job and encountering the writings of St. Therese of Liseux.
A few years ago, at this difficult job, I was on the fast track to burn out. Overworked and underfed spiritually, I couldn’t help but blame myself for my perceived failures at work. I felt nothing I did was good enough and I lived in constant fear of messing up and, God forbid, getting fired. During this time, I remember going to confession. The elderly priest must have heard the worry, stress, and self-blame in my voice through the confessional and, in his heavy Spanish accent, told me “You know, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is very… cozy.” Cozy. That word sounded so appealing. I wanted to be somewhere cozy, safe from the cares of the world, and safe from my fear of failure. Cozy in Jesus’s Heart, but what did that even mean?
So I began to pray that Jesus would let me into this cozy place. I asked Him what His Sacred Heart even was. Then, I turned to Google (classic) to look for a suitable prayer, and found a beautiful prayer written by St. Therese of Lisieux to the Sacred Heart. The prayer, written in French, describes St. Therese’s need for Jesus’s Heart and her beautiful relationship with it. Although there is a version translated to English, the meaning is not quite the same. A direct translation is necessary to do it justice. The poem’s opening line is:
“I need a heart, burning with tenderness, remaining my support without asking anything from me, loving everything in me, even my weakness, never leaving me, neither day nor night.”
Jesus loves us with a tender love. He is always there to support you, and He doesn’t ask you to prove yourself to Him for His support. He doesn’t leave you when you don’t measure up. He loves everything in us, even our weaknesses. To have your weakness loved is unheard of. Typically, we try to hide them from those around us, especially at a place like work, but Jesus wants us completely, including our weaknesses.
For the striving perfectionist who felt that she never did enough, discovering this Truth was like drinking cool water on a scorching day. It became a huge consolation for me, not just at work, but in so many aspects of my life. Slowly I started to share my weaknesses with Jesus, and over time, I have experienced His love for me in them.
My last day at that job was on the Feast Day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was surely not a coincidence. However, my journey to further know His Heart did not end there. The journey is on-going. I have learned more and more to rest in that cozy place that sees me fully and is my refuge against my perfectionist tendencies and fears of not measuring up. Now when I glance at that same mysterious image of the Sacred Heart that I saw years ago, I see the Heart of my Savior burning with love for me, all of me. My sins pierced His Heart, but somehow, mysteriously, He loves me all the more in them, and I am more and more blown away by this Love that I truly could never merit.
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