"Sacred Heart of Jesus consume me." These words keep swimming around my head and my heart. Holy Week is always a time of deeper contemplation. Our Lord has been active within me lately. I have been seeing the flame of love from Christ's Sacred Heart as the invitation to abandon my will and take up His.
I keep praying for Christ to place his flame within my heart and have it burn with such an intensity that all worldly things burn away and what is left is the white-hot love of Christ. While that sounds beautiful, what does that actually mean?
Christ can be very confusing to me. The moment I think I know something, I discover I know very little. Praying at 3:00 pm on Good Friday, I was profoundly moved in conversation with Christ over the words that He spoke from the Cross, "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?"
The Passion of the Cross is so brutal that it is tough for me to understand why it had to be that way. This year, I understood that it was all about love, the flame of love that burns in the heart of Christ for us. Christ became one of us; he experienced our lives with one purpose: to communicate His father's will to provide us with salvation. During His time on earth, he saw our struggles and misconceptions about His father; he also saw the joy and delight in being human. I imagined Him looking inside of me, who I am at my core, who He created me to be and loved me. It is the "me" I created me to be, the one that did not invite Jesus into the process that was a willing participant in hanging Jesus on the Cross.
Suddenly I understood, in the context of my life, why Jesus cried out to God, "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?". In that one moment, Jesus's divine life was taking over, and His human life was dying, the two wills separated, and what was left in his body on the Cross was me in all my weaknesses, temptations, sins, and attachments. I could clearly see all the things I have done and will do that separate me from God. I could see myself suffering the results of what I have done and what I have failed to do, and it was me who cried out, "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?"
The truth is He never abandoned me: I abandoned him.
The more and more I thought about this, I could see myself on the Cross. My hands were fighting to be released, my feet desperate to kick myself free, my body squirming in attempts to loosen myself. In my shame, denial, and sorrow, I wanted to be free of who I was versus face why I was there. Jesus whispered to me, "Let me in."
The longer I imagined myself on the Cross, the more I felt the old wounds inside me. Little hurts, big hurts, disappointments, cruelty, and thoughtlessness. The more I thought about it, the more I felt them welling up inside of me, and I could imagine myself calling out to God, "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?"
Then I imagined myself looking up at me, and I could see all the times I hurt others, both big and small, when I disappointed others, was cruel or thoughtless, and that hurt even more.
Needless to say, this was a painful and challenging encounter. Then the glory of our Lord entered, MERCY! In an odd enough place, the shower, I felt the hot water run down me almost as if it was baptismal waters. I heard our Lord tell me to let it all go. Freedom comes from not only forgiving those who hurt me but forgiving my ignorance and lack of love.
I now know what I need to do; however, putting it into action will be a new path that I must journey down.