My reflection during adoration last Thursday was triggered by homemade kombucha and an overactive imagination; the Lord works in mysterious ways. Or maybe more to the point, ‘more tortuous than anything is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?’ (Jer 17:9). Be that as it may be, I was prompted to consider the pierced heart of our Savior and his invitation to allow our hearts to be pierced. In the words of Pierre, “[In order to have] the spirit of compassion, we have to have hearts that have been pierced…We shall not obtain them by our own efforts, we must really ask Mary that we may have hearts that have been pierced (76-E11)” (Words of Pierre Goursat, Part II, Chapter 8). I addressed our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, asking for the grace that my heart would be pierced and, first, that I would be open to my heart being pierced.
So often, I pondered, the images of the Sacred Heart point to his wounded heart with a look of reproach and accusation. “Look what you’ve done!” he seems to say. “Oh, how could you? Now aren’t you ashamed of yourself? Do you see the damage you’ve caused, the mess you’ve made?”
And to that look, my reaction is to slink away in pain, shame, and fear. “I see the wretch I am; I’ll leave you now because I know if I stay I’ll only hurt you again, even if unintentionally. I’ll go…who could want a loser like me around,” I say to that look of shocked dismay.
But the Lord isn’t shocked or scandalized by my sins and brokenness. If he did not reproach his executioners, how could he reproach me? Those words are not the words of my Lord but of my own insecurity triggered by art with a taste for the melodramatic.
Instead, what I should hear when I ponder the Sacred Heart is, “Look at what I’ve let happen to me! I’ve let my heart be pierced to prove how passionate my love is, how desperately I desire your company, your face, your love. ‘How sweet is your love, my sister, my bride!’ (Song 4:10). See, here is the price I was willing to pay for it, I wanted to pay for it: my own beating heart! This is what I think you’re worth. Look and do not be afraid! Look and let me love you. Look and ‘set me as a seal upon your heart!’ (Song 8:6). Look what I’ve done, out of love for you.”
These are words which make trust a tender gift, not quaking subservience. And it is precisely in understanding the Sacred Heart that I can believe them. Then it becomes clear where the piercing of my heart fits in. In order to be compassionate, compassionate as the Father is compassionate (cf. Luke 6:36), my heart must be pierced in the same way the Sacred Heart is. Not pierced with disgust or reproach or disappointed exasperation; pierced with love, pierced in order to love and to prove it. When my heart is pierced in love, by love, and for love, I will be able to be the leaven of the kingdom and the light in the darkness. When my heart is made into a beating image of His Sacred Heart, I will be able not only to love the world but to woo it to Him.