This evening’s cleaning to beat a self-imposed deadline is leading me to much introspection, especially with good music. How did I, one of Sting’s late ’80’s fangirls, miss his “If on a Winter’s Night” album, and his (unrelated) song,”Shape of my Heart?” Thanks, Kindle! Much better than a Walkman… (Stop laughing, kids.)
OK, eh, some of the lyrics are similar to what he sang 30 years ago, but ahh, the music! Perfect for a purgatorial tub-scrubbing.
My thoughts about “shapes of the heart.” Actually, I’ve been reading a lot about the Heart of Jesus lately, by various authors, and struck by how afraid we, as in “The We across time and space,” have been and are to approach His Heart. Some of us see tight lightning bolts primed to rain down in instant rebuke, or the nails stretching out to penetrate us with suffering, or even to imagine His arms folded tightly across His chest in contempt of what we have done so wrongly, stupidly, over and over, (or perhaps in just one mighty disaster), landing us in the slime of shame.
Some can’t even catch a glimpse because a dark millstone-adorned silhouette from the past so obscures Him that it doesn’t seem possible that He has a heart.
As He predicted, even if our vision of Him is not quite that dire, the hard ground and rambles growing up through rocky soil sometimes distract us mightily from any glimpse of rays of crimson and pure white brightness bursting from His constant and merciful dwelling-with-us.
Argh! How passionately He loves us, and how much we distrust Him! He carries all of it, all of our distress and sorrow and anguish, and His Passion and Death prove his deep distress, sorrow and anguish for us.
When I’m overwhelmed and distracted and have wandered away from Him, I try to recognize the myriad “little” shapes His Heart takes. If I’m recollected enough, then I see Him again:
An ancient, soaring cathedral, built in the heart of a city even older, with warped marble aisles, wakes of thousands of shuffling shoes, now largely empty save for tourists. A tiny basement Oratory holds His Precious Body, though, and a young person prays intensely on his knees.
A middle-aged woman with constant health problems, some having brought her to death’s door, offering up each slow drip of pain and discomfort in gratitude, for poor souls. You wouldn’t know it by her joyful face.
Two women cashiers at our local grocery store particularly take on the mantle of His Heart; they must know Him well. They treat each of us, no matter the time of day, length of lines or the general mood, with kindness and felicity.
Parents who have never, ever given up, have never quit and thrown in the towel, and are on their knees within His Heart, constantly.
Always, always a quiet handful of individuals live in a parish, and they who are actually mighty Annas and Simeons would be embarrassed if you took notice of them. Their hearts are open to His Heart’s graces and they intercede for us and I’m pretty sure we’ll discover how much good they’ve done us when we enter eternity.
The shapes equal infinity, and I need to go to bed but I’ll add one more.
There’s an elderly woman crossing guard in the midst of a large and broken city who stands at the corner of the entrance of an expensive private school. She stops the restless hordes of suburban SUVs and smartcars each time her students need to walk across to the city elementary school two blocks away. She smiles and chats with her regulars, and I imagine that if anyone troubled her little ones in the least little bit on their journey, she’d wield her plastic stop sign quite effectively. Although her eyes don’t linger on the non-descript forms behind the steering wheels, I imagine they’d be His Heart shape.
Feel free to add your own Heart-shapes!