Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Saturday 20 April |
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Jesus knows our heart scars

Jezus Chrystus Dobry Pasterz

Fr. Lawrence OP | Flickr | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sr. Maria Frassati, SV - published on 06/19/23

He goes to my darkest depths and places his divinity there ...

Sr. Maria Frassati is a member of the Sisters of Life.

Years ago, while camping with my parents down in Cape Cod, I found myself needing to borrow my dad’s luxury, souped-up pickup truck in order to get to Mass. Full back seat and truck bed, the thing was stunning in all its deep blue radiance, and incredibly empowering to drive. When I made the comment I’d need to drive it, Dad hesitantly handed over the keys. My mom asked him, “Do you trust Sr. Maria with your truck?” to which he responded, “No. But I trust Jesus with Sr. Maria.

It’s hard for us to entrust the treasures of our hearts to other people — even with people we know well. After years of watching me grow in my espousal to Jesus through my consecration, and himself growing to know the Lord, Dad could freely entrust me to the heart of Jesus.

But do I entrust myself to Him, with the same ease? Does He really understand our broken hearts, and every dark crevice within it that still refuses to heal completely in this life? Our heart scars, as it were?

At St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Good Friday, I was amazed at the multitude who came to venerate the cross: frail elderly, men and women in business suits and fancy shoes, young mothers with infants in their arms, police officers and homeless — all bending to kiss the wounds on Jesus’ body, not just to reverence his bodily wounds, but even deeper, to console the blows humanity has wrought on His Sacred Heart. His heart knew the pain of betrayal, being stabbed in the back by an intimate friend. He was abandoned by His closest friends at His hardest hour.

The heart pierced with the spear easily sums up our human story: We pierce God’s heart with our hate, our indifference, and our betrayals, big and small, and He responds by mercifully giving Himself to heal us. But when the Father raised Him up, and the light of glory overcame His holes in His hands and feet, among the greatest consolations to us is that His glorified heart scars join the ranks of glorified wounds. But where can we see them?

Enter, the image of the Sacred Heart. Especially for us cradle-Catholics, it’s easy to glide past the Sacred Heart statue and remain unmoved. With his unreal rosy complexion and often troubling paint job, He can seem so distant, and frankly, so irrelevant. Yet His glorious heart wounds are a sign of hope for us. A heart on fire, yet unconsumed by the flames. A heart wounded, yet victorious. 

In His Incarnation, Jesus not only forever united Himself to our human flesh, He forever united Himself to the human experience. And not just any human experience, but to my human experience, going to my darkest depths and placing His divinity there. Loving with a truly human heart, He experienced all that we do, especially the gut-wrenching things that seem to shatter the heart apart; grief, loneliness, and rejection.

But He didn’t live there. Instead, He lived in the embrace of His Father, with total reliance on His love. That’s our path to freedom. 

How do we live in His victorious freedom, and let His glorified heart scars heal ours?

First, we need the courage to be vulnerable. Yes — it’s painful, and petrifying. Shame researcher Brené Brown shares in her book Daring Greatly that, paradoxically, while we fear being vulnerable ourselves, we admire and find attractive those who are willing to be vulnerable. Because, “Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

Vulnerability means forgiving. As Mother Teresa says, “People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.”

It means loving others even when we aren’t loved in return. In the heart of Jesus, we see a heart willing to be vulnerable for the sake of love. But it’s only possible when, like Him, we rest in the Father, knowing our hearts are safe in the hands of the One who made it, who will never break it, but is forever holding our very being in existence with the utmost love and reverence. Jesus, who fully reveals man to himself, shows us that life’s not about being bulletproof. It’s not about putting your heart in a steel box so that nothing can hurt you. It’s not about refusing to hope big so that you can scrape by life and not get disappointed. It’s about having the courage to be open enough to receive reality, with total reliance on the Father’s love, and let Him use it to sanctify us, heal us. And, if we only have faith, we’ll see that His creativity in loving us knows no limit.

Second, we can let Him use our suffering hearts to transform us into vessels of His mercy. The Divine Mercy image gives us another insight into His Sacred Heart: His wounds don’t stream anger or vengeance, but mercy. Mercy pours from His heart scars, and they can pour from ours too. “Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering, in order that they may have existence,” says French philosopher Léon Bloy. Suffering, lived well, creates a space in the heart to shelter others who are wounded. And the more we unite our broken hearts with Jesus’ own Sacred Heart, the more He will transform our hearts to radiate His own patient, gentle, and merciful love.

Jesus holds out His wounded heart as a beacon of hope for anyone who has experienced heartbreak, rejection, and failure. “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures,” said St. John Paul II, but “we are the sum of the Father’s love for us, and our real capacity to become the image of His Son Jesus.”

We begin to live in freedom when we let the truth of God’s love penetrate our very bones, and we, like Jesus, grow to be totally dependent on the Father. We’re safe in His hands. And if we confidently give Him our broken pieces, the ones we think we’ve broken beyond fixing, we’ll be amazed at His creativity as He uses them to mold the beautiful mosaic of our salvation story. 

Sacred HeartSpiritual Life
Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.