This morning in prayer I was contemplating your Sacred Heart. I thought about Saint Margaret Mary and how you told her of your great love for us and your desire to be loved. How you ask that we make reparation for all those who don’t love you. Those who take you for granted even as they call themselves Christians.
I thought of your great desire for love and sacrifices. In a passion of prayer, my heart was full to overflowing. I threw myself at your feet and promised that I would love you. That I would do anything to make up for those who have failed you.
But immediately I was struck by a paralyzing realization.
I am the one who has failed you. I am the one who has turned my back on you. I am the one who has taken you for granted. I am the one for whom you seek reparation.
I am not the cure; I am the disease!
It occurred to me that I, who long to love you above all things, don’t even know how to love.
Through divine inspiration, you defined love for us in 1 Corinthians 13:
Love is patient
...but I am not patient.
Love is kind
…but I can be unkind.
Love is not jealous
…but as I look around, I find it difficult not to compare myself to others and succumb to jealousy when I come up short.
Love is not pompous; Love is not inflated
…but too often I find myself full of pride.
Love is not rude
…but I can be rude.
Love does not seek its own interests
…but my interests are all too often on my mind.
Love is not quick-tempered
...how often do I lose my temper?
Love does not brood over injury
…but I brood. And brood. And brood.
Love bears all things
…but I am so weak.
Love believes all things
…but too often I live in fear and doubt.
Love hopes all things
…how many times have I felt helpless and hopeless?
Loves endures all things
…but I have been known to argue and complain.
Who am I to offer my devotion to you?
Love is sacrifice. And sacrifice calls me to give of myself. In this, I hesitate. I want to let go; to give. But I continue to hold on. Hold on to what? To my desires. My goals. My preferences. My plans. My time. Each time I reach out, I am quick to pull back. I know that, like you, I must crucify myself in order to truly love. But even in small things, I often find the cross too painful to bear.
Saint Paul instructed us,
…Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God… —Romans 12:1
But crawling up on that altar is soooo hard.
Thankfully, he also told us what we must do to take this difficult step:
Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. — Romans 12:2
I have a long way to go before I break the shackles of this world. But in this I am not hopeless. I know that if I ask, You will give me the grace to know You, to love You and to serve You. To sacrifice for you.
Please help me to climb up on that altar.
Teach me to be patient and kind. To avoid jealousy, pompousness, pride, selfishness, a quick-temper and please replace my brooding nature with one of great joy! Help me to bear all things, hope all things and to endure all things.
Lord, teach me to love.
*Image borrowed from Holy Card Heaven
Note: If you like what you just read, please click the “follow” button to receive thought-provoking and action-oriented bi-weekly posts promoting the virtue of sacrifice.