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Hospitality of the Heart

In the Sacred Heart of Jesus

from the writings of Catherine Doherty

Long ago and far away the disciple John, an ordinary man, laid his head on the breast of Jesus, his Lord, and listened to his heartbeat. Jesus and John ('the one whom Jesus loved') and the other disciples were preparing to eat their last supper together.

Who can venture to guess what John felt as he heard the beat of Jesus' mighty heart? None of us can ever be in his place, but all of us can hear, if we will but listen, the heartbeats of God, the song of love he sings to us. For he has loved us all so much!

If we love him back we can learn from everything and from every creature the answering song of love that should swell in our hearts.

If we stop to listen to nature, to its rhythm and its songs of obedience to the laws of its Creator, we can hear and learn how to sing our love song back to the Creator as well.

If we listen to the songs of the city, to the noises that sometimes irritate us, we can realize that even they, in their own way, praise God. If we keep machines in their place - as our servants and instruments of love and not our masters - their songs praise God also. Yes, even machines can teach us how to return the love of Jesus' Sacred Heart.

If we ponder deeply the themes of the Scriptures and Prayer of the Church, we will distinctly hear the loving, powerful, immense heartbeat of God. In fact, we will hear his heart speaking to us.

If we meditate on the most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist we will not only hear his heart-beat, we will hear our hearts beating in unison with his; we will be in communion with our Lord and our God.

So let us enter the great silence of our own souls. Let us pray there humbly, lovingly, plunging into the riches of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Then we shall know God in a way that no book can tell us or teach us. Then we will love him so passionately, so tremendously, so utterly and completely, that it will become simple for us to be the kind of Christians we must be. We will not have to say very much. We will only have to walk upright, crying the gospel with our lives, reflecting our Lover in our faces."Enter the heart of God, accept his Love and you will know how to Love.1. Jn 13:23."

For what the world needs most today is the hospitality of the heart. The hospitality of the heart means accepting all others as they are, allowing them to make themselves at home in our heart. For human beings, the heart has in many cultures been a symbol of love. So to be at home in another person's heart is to touch love, the love of a brother or sister in Christ. And to touch the love of another means to begin to recognize the love of God. For it is by being loved by another'our neighbor'that we can begin to understand that God loves us.

This is especially necessary in this modern age because of the strange technological loneliness that has separated us so thoroughly not only from our neighbors, but from our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, in short, from all our relations. Our technological age has begotten a terrible loneliness!

We have to shed our 'stiff upper lips.' We have to be open to one another, share with one another, express our love for one another. We can only do this if we open the doors of our hearts now, before they are frozen shut by our technological achievements!

The world needs the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The world needs human hearts united to his Sacred Heart. The world needs human hearts united to each other through their communion in his heart. Without love the world is very dark. Let us arise and resurrect the world by bringing love to it and it to God.

We must begin to give the hospitality of the heart. We must open ourselves to a sharing of friendship that is rooted in the very heart of Christ whom we call our friend.

(Adapted from The Gospel Without Compromise, by Catherine de Hueck Doherty, pp 79-80, 93-94.)

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