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The Month of June Reflection: Love & Sacrifice

Over the last few years, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Hearts of the Holy Family have been a huge comfort, support and anchor for me. As we have progressed through the month of June, a month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I have been reflecting on what Jesus’ human heart, and the hearts of Mary and Joseph, most perfectly represents: Love.

Our own hearts, our physical hearts, teach us a lot about the kind of love Jesus’ Sacred Heart reflects. Because for the most part, in our normal day to day lives, we don’t notice our hearts. We aren’t aware of every beat or every movement. But it beats and keeps us alive regardless. We only notice our hearts when something is off, or wrong. When it beats irregularly, or skips a beat. 

Love, in its essence, must then be the same. Love, true love, is often very "ordinary". In fidelity, in constancy…. In being true. 

This love is most perfectly expressed in the hearts of our dear Holy Family. The love they shared seems quite ordinary. A family that from the outside was nothing “special”. 

But their love, and specifically Jesus’ love, was marked by something even greater: sacrifice. The great “paradox” of the Christian life, as my spiritual director reminded me in a very teary session recently. That true love, authentic love, must be expressed by sacrifice. A love that says “I am not the most important. The other is”. A love that is not afraid to sacrifice conveniences, wants, needs and even fears for the sake of the other.

A love that sacrifices and gives even if that love is not reciprocated or received, but yet poured out all the same. 

I have felt that ache recently. The ache of giving and pouring out to just feel “what was it all for?”. To be quite honest, as I sit here and write this, my heart feels a little bruised and raw. My heart feels drained and weary, but it beats nonetheless. 

Sitting in this hurt, Jesus said to me, very simply, “Emma, do you not think I know this pain?”.

He said to me: 

“When [the soldiers] came to me and saw that I was already dead, they did not break my legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into my side, and immediately blood and water gushed out.” ~John 19:33-34.

I read this and ache thinking of Jesus’ precious blood gushing out with no one there to understand or capture its precious value. But, it poured out nonetheless. 

Jesus emptied Himself fully, leaving Himself totally vulnerable to rejection. Totally vulnerable to our human free will to walk away and not accept His love and sacrifice. 

Jesus is not a stranger to pain, to heart break, to rejection, to hurt. He understands this better than anyone. 

And yet, “blood and water gushed forth”. Gushed. Not trickled or seeped. His love and mercy gushes forth no matter our response. 

Everything in my heart in its ache today wants to shut down and shut off. I don’t want to pour out my love knowing that I could be hurt again. Or rejected again. Or disappointed again.

But, the Sacred Heart of Jesus invites into a radically different way of loving. A love that is sacrificial, selfless, faithful, ordinary, loyal and constant, no matter what. At all times. 

Only when we give of ourselves fully do we know the capacity we have to love. When we are willing to be inconvenienced, when we are willing to really put our hearts and lives out there for the sake of others; we cannot know real love and sacrifice until we do that. It’s necessary for intimacy with Jesus who modeled it for us first.

I want to love others in the way the Sacred Heart of Jesus does.

Without counting the cost. Sacrificially. And giving all of myself.

I want to love fiercely and bravely, no matter how permanent or impermanent the situation may be in my life. I want to be the kind of woman whose love gushes forth and overflows into all areas of my life and all people in my life. 

I can only do that with You, Jesus.

Jesus, make my heart more like Yours. Draw my closer to Your heart, and to the hearts of Your precious mother and father who loved You so constantly, ordinarily and sacrificially on this earth.

“My vocation is to love!”. May we each be able to say these words with as much confidence and humility as St. Therese does each day of our lives.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in You.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for Us.

Chaste Heart of St. Joseph, Pray for Us.


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