Sunday, May 08, 2011

Tenderness and the Heart Broken Open

St. Monica prayed and waited for the conversion of her son, St. Augustine, for _decades_. We look to her for perseverance in prayer no matter the cost.

When a deep conversion and eventual release of the heart takes place in one that we love it can be very tempting to want to draw this new experience of the other’s heart out as much as possible and as soon as possible.

However, just as it is when one has not eaten for a very long time and we must patiently eat very small portions, we must be patient and tender with our beloved and wait at their side during the process of the heart’s opening.

If we rush things we can end up causing our beloved’s heart to close back up and withdraw. Or, we may get lost in our selfish desire to open that heart up all the quicker.

Where is this coming from? Well, we all know that to a lessor or greater extent we all have our history of being hurt with the possibility of developing some very elaborate defenses and coping mechanisms depending on how extreme things were.

One of the most difficult things for those of us that have been deeply wounded in the past after getting married and living with that one person day after day is to let go and totally trust our spouse.

To let go so thoroughly that the heart is completely revealed to the other . . . nothing is held back. The ultimate in vulnerability.

Now, given that our spouse probably has their own history to deal with, again with protection mechanisms and coping mechanisms, it becomes all the harder to open up our heart to the other and be _totally_ vulnerable with them.

I mean, how could we since we sense that there is something within their own heart that they are holding back?

Yet our Lord makes it so clear through St. Paul in Ephesians 5 that we as men are called to do just that _over and over and over and over again_!

We are called to make continual sacrifices on behalf of our wife and child(ren). We are called to forgo our own pains, struggles, and selfish hurts to be totally vulnerable _to them_.

If we lose sight of our calling to be completely open and sacrificing our lives for our wife then we miss the opportunity to make an offer of love for her healing.

Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year . . . just as St. Monica made continual sacrifice and prayer for her son we offer our sacrifices to the Lord through Our Lady for our wife.

In the end, after all of that, the Lord may pleasantly surprise both of us with an amazing gift of healing that produces an openness of the heart that is gift beyond all imagination.

Indeed, there is Resurrection after the Passion and Death on the Cross!

John Everett

Memorial of the Apparition Michael the Archangel

Catholic Saints of the Day