Focus – February 14th – Sweet Heart of Jesus!!
I would like to begin with a moment of silent prayer for the Holy Spirit to come to each of us wherever we are in our faith journey from the words of this focus.
Jesus is my truest love, my sweetheart, and this Valentine’s Day He has asked me to tell you all about it.
Why am I up here again! Many of you may be thinking, I thought she said she hated public speaking. Well, I did say that and I still do. Jesus is asking me to step out of my comfort zone and expose my vulnerability, so that we all may grow in our faith. He is asking me to trust him and gain confidence in sharing my faith. After all, during this Year of Faith, we have all been called to just that. So, here I am!
After the first of the year I felt the “push” again to get up and give another focus. After our Christmas break I looked at the five open spots that Stephanie mentioned in one of her talks. I didn’t feel any special interest or calling to any particular one, so I decided to think, pray, and ask Catherine, who has helped me decided on my last two topics. I got nothing for weeks, but I still felt the “push”.
I went on a retreat to Our Sorrowful Mother’s Ministry (OSMM) in Vandalia, IL. I was recently introduced to this beautiful slice of heaven on earth last fall, OSMM is a lay ministry focused on prayer, healing, reconciliation, and mercy. They have monthly retreats, and I have been blessed to attend several retreats in past six months. I decided I would bring my feeling of being “pushed” to the January retreat to see if Our Blessed Mother or Jesus had anything to say about it there. Well, much to my delight I got my answer. After the healing service on Saturday night, I went to the back of the sanctuary and knelt in silent adoration. I had a heartfelt moment with the Lord with my eyes closed, praying ever so hard about sharing my deep love of my Lord with others in this Year of Faith. When I opened my eyes, I looked up and saw this statue, King of Love (on the projector). I heard these words. “You have my heart, share it with the world.” Oddly enough after that message the date, February 14th popped into my head. A few days later I emailed Stephanie to see if February 14th was still open for the focus and sure enough it was. So here I am!!!!
My focus today is called, Sweet Heart of Jesus. I see this two ways, Jesus is my sweetheart and Jesus has a sweet heart for the whole world. Father Denis, at St. Joseph, has taught me a prayer that I love to say. It is only a few words, and I repeat them often as a mantra. “Sweet Heart of Jesus be Thou my Love.” This is sweet, simple prayer that his mother taught him as a child that has stuck with him for over 80 years. I too have fallen in love with it.
So, just how did I fall so deeply in Love with Jesus? I have very little bible knowledge, very little church experience, but I intimately know Jesus and Our Blessed Mother. Over the last few years I have spent many, many hours of prayer discerning my deep and intimate love for Jesus and Mary. Only recently, have the puzzle pieces started to be revealed to me, I would like to quickly share a snapshot of my faith journey with you.
For the first eight years of my life, I grew up in a home full of love and Jesus. We didn’t attend traditional church due to some complications with my parent’s faith walk. My mother was raised Catholic, but was quickly pushed away by her family and community when she was seeking to marry a non-Catholic in 1970’s, Vatican II, hadn’t quite taken up roots in their community. My father was raised a non-denominational Christian, exposed to many varieties of churches, with many broken souls. After many difficult encounters with churches he turned to a more personal faith focused journey with very little church involvement. My first exposure to Jesus was not in a church, but through my father reading the gospel stories to me in our family living room. I remember vividly him reading bible stories to us directly from his well-loved bible.
At eight years old, my seeming perfect life began to fall apart. Over the next few years, my life as I knew eroded away until I was left completely alone. The details are far too involved and tragic to discuss in this forum, but in these years as I child I had to face the passing of two of my grandparents, murder of an uncle, the loss of my mother and father due to the grief they had to endure from these deaths, the abandonment of an aunt who cared for me while my parents were grieving, loss of my brother from poor life choices, and marriage and moving away of my older sister. I remember many, many nights alone in my room crying and praying with all my might. I realize now, that during these times I was always being held by Jesus and comforted greatly by Our Blessed Mother. My spirit was being filled with their deep love from within, without me even knowing it.
At the age of fifteen, I turned my focus on making my life better by working hard. I got a job, did well in school, and just pushed forward. Over the years the wounds closed, they didn’t heal completely, but they closed. I was able to rebuild my relationships with my mother, father, sister, and brother and begin to not feel so alone. I was blessed with many GMC, including meeting my husband Michael when I was eighteen, at the local DQ where I worked. We feel in love and within a year we were married in the Catholic Church. Jesus was leading me home! To the fullness of the faith He wanted me to have in my life. Ten+ years pass, and I finally have my big day with Jesus! At the age of 30, I was baptized, received the Eucharist, and confirmed! I often say, this was my wedding day with Jesus!
The last three years since coming into the church have received too many blessings to count, in many different forms, some trials and tribulations, others in the form of spiritual gifts, beautiful friendships, and increased faith. The greatest gift of all is that every day I am falling deeper and deeper in love with the Sweet Heart of Jesus.
One of the great mystery’s to me is that the Blessed Trinity has enough love to share with the whole world. Every day I pray to be emptied of al that I am, and filled with this love to the max. I feel Jesus fills me over every day, and with the excess He gives me, He wants me to share it with everyone I meet. In the form of smiles, hugs, prayers, random acts of kindness, and for some (mainly the teenagers in my life) tough love!
This Valentine’s Day I would like to offer up a special prayer for everyone, today I pray that as we all travel together on our various paths, we seek to fall deeper in love with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Also, that we can continually seek to share this love with every person we meet along the way. In Jesus name I pray. Amen!