Called by Name

God became vulnerable for us. And God’s vulnerability is a supreme expression of Divine Love. A psalmist once said God’s love is better than life itself. More to the point: God’s love is life. Without God, I am nothing, have no life. With God, I lack nothing, have the fullness of life. Love is life. Jesus is a lover. Love cannot be conditional. Love cannot be purchased. Love cannot be used for our gain, cannot be self-centered. Love is liberating. Love is self-emptying, is to be given away. Love is only known from within, as an experience that changes everything, even changes bread and wine into the very substance of God. Love is all powerful, all merciful, all compassionate, all forgiving, always giving. The source of love is God the creator and sustainer of everything. Love animates all life. And through love all life is connected.

Love does not throw stones. Love tosses bouquets of kindness. Love does not judge or condemn others. Love only gives and shares, everything, always. Our incapacity to love is rooted in pride and our false notion that everything must have a tangible benefit toward increasing our status and security. “What’s in it for me?” is not a question love asks. Love seeks no remuneration, knows nothing about the market economy, or credit cards, or tax deductions or cost-benefit analysis.

Love is a gift to be freely given and freely received. We do not merit nor can we earn God’s love. Yet, in every moment, in every place, in every situation, God’s love is there reaching out to us, calling us by name. But most of the time we are deaf, do not hear the silent voice of God. The wordless voice of God can only be heard in the heart. God’s heart speaks to our hearts. But our hearts are a tangle of contradictions, fragmented and overwhelmed by disappointments, struggles, worries and doubts; in the noise and chaos of our cluttered hearts we cannot hear God, cannot know God, and cannot feel God’s love.

Our hearts are broken, wounded by a thousand little cuts and bruises, wounded by betrayal and rejection. Jesus came to heal our hearts. Through his Sacred Heart the heart of God is revealed. To contemplate and imitate the Sacred Heart of Jesus is to contemplate and imitate the love of God. Through Jesus’ heart God loves us and shows us how to relate to the Divine and to all of humanity.

Jesus is the heartbeat of God.

The heart is the center, the core of our bodies, spirits and souls. The heart is the home of our deepest thoughts, our deepest desires, our deepest longings. It is in and through our hearts that we come to understand ourselves and learn how to relate to others. The heart is fundamental to physical and spiritual life. In the physical heart of Jesus the spiritual heart of God was incarnated and made flesh. Jesus loves with a human heart, a human heart that beats with divine love. Our human hearts need to be transformed into sacred hearts, divine hearts that beat with human love. We were created for relationship. Love is the doorway to authentic, life-giving relationships.

Each day brings its share of sweetness and bitterness, of joy and misery, of comfort and pain, of laughter and tears, of hopes and disappointments. Each day brings rejection and acceptance, loneliness and communion. Each day brings moments of fear and despair, courage and delight. Each day brings a flood of words and a desert of silence. Each day we have moments of transparency and deception, moments of faithfulness and infidelity, moments of strength and weakness, moments of purity and lust, moments of beauty and cruelty, moments of abundance and famine, moments of peace and turmoil.

And each day God is present in all these things, in all the ups and downs, in the heartache and elation, in the victories and the defeats. But God’s presence is hidden and silent. It is only through faith we can see and hear God, even though our seeing and hearing are gravely impaired and far from perfect. We really don’t know God, yet we do know God. Our not knowing is the beginning of our knowing. But the fullness of knowing will always be beyond us, yet hidden within us.

To see God in all things each day, is the mysticism of everyday life, the ordinary mysticism that sees the extraordinary work of God even in the mundane events of everyday life. And with everyday mystical eyes we are able to see God in both the cries of the poor and the laughter of a child, in both a tender kiss and in a deadly disease.

God does not bomb us in order to get us to change our behavior. God whispers words of love. We may resort to “shock and awe” to show our power in order to get others to bend to our will, but that’s not God’s way. God gives us space and freedom to accept or reject his gentle overtures of love. God seeks a response from us that emerges from a transformed inner life that allows us to acknowledge God’s power and our need for God. God seeks a deep emotional response from us. And it is our response to God that allows us to subdue our ego and permits our true self to emerge.

This transformational change leads to a radical reorientation of our outlook on life. We will see the world and all of creation with new eyes and we will love with new hearts. Badness shall be transformed into goodness. Grace changes everything, makes everything beautiful. We simply need stillness and silence…and ears to hear.

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