In childhood I recall a scapular of the Sacred Heart on which was the prayer: “Cease, the heart of Jesus is with me!” This was a reply we were to make to temptation. Perhaps we are ready now to rephrase that prayer and say to our own hearts and to all our spiritual opportunities: “Open, the heart of Jesus is in me!”
A heart may open in some of the following ways, each of which is a spiritual practice that presents a spiritual challenge. Each challenge constitutes a component of a spirituality of heart:
Our orientation is toward wholeness not perfection. We already and always are whole; the work is to act in accord with our wholeness within. As long as we associate Jesus or prayer with perfection we will feel embarrassed about bringing ourselves and our lives to him just as they are. For instance, how often do we pray about our sexuality or the fun things we may do. Our prayer life becomes formal and inhibited if we can only mention what seems “appropriate and right.” Jesus then becomes a statue not a friend.
Jesus, you spoke to all of us from your heart at the last supper when you said: “I no longer call you servants but friends.” John 15:15
Jesus, make me your friend by opening my heart. With my heart closed I cannot walk beside you as a companion. With my heart caught up in worldly values I cannot follow you as my divine guide. With my heart hardened against anyone at all, I am no longer loving toward you.
Show me many ways to open, every day, every moment. Don’t wait for me; open me now. Show me what space has opened.
I know your heart is open with compassion for humanity. Let mine open that way too. Your open heart is inclusive. Your openness is a radical acceptance of differences. May I accept everyone as he or she is rather than being critical, blaming, or unkind.
Jesus, I am open now and here to every mysterious way you reach out to me.
Let your love take effect in my heart.
May my heart’s desire become the same as your Heart’s desire.
Let my participation in the Eucharist take effect by opening my heart to the cries of the world: transubstantiate me.
This means that I give up all the biases of my childhood and include everyone in the infinite circle of love you drew with your heart.
I feel your heart aching to beam its love through me.
Don’t let my own self-centeredness prevent your love from reaching the farthest corners of my world and to every person in it, through my every thought, word, and action.
And at the same time, may I be able to honor myself, be who I am in the world, and express that God-given power without fear.
Jesus, I know your heart opened on the cross. May mine open when I have a cross to bear. Like you, I know that to love is to suffer sometimes. You took on all human suffering and gave it back as redemption. Let me be fearless to do the same.
Your heart is the heart of the universe, on earth as it is in heaven. I do not see the world until I see your heart through it, with it, and in it. Help me hold the vision of a world of heart. Let me incarnate that vision and then celebrate that vision by being a person of heart.
Jesus, you still want the world to look like your heart. Your heart, Jesus, is an opening for social change. May I join you in that work. May that happen in and through me in any way possible.
You never give up even when I do. I trust that you have not stopped creating me, redeeming me, sanctifying me. May I join in that work by my devotedness to your heart.
I have not yet found my heart until it is like yours. I point to my heart right now and say “Here you are, most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Stay through me, with me, in me.” May your Sacred Heart exhilarate my capacity to love.
May all beings meet in your heart.