Dear Sacred Heart Family,
“The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.” G.K. Chesterton had this insight into love. We more commonly speak this way, “You never know what you have until it is gone.” One way that we learn to appreciate someone or something is after the fact. In loss, in separation, we often have a focus about how good life has been, and we perhaps wish we had valued things and understood the blessings we had before.
This is not a reflection on loss. Rather, it is a dramatic way to appreciate now, the most important things. In the readings this Sunday we hear three things: 1) rejoicing in the Lord must be our strength, 2) we are part of the Body of Christ, and 3) Jesus is the fulfillment of all our desires.
What is fascinating is that Jesus knows what we don’t know. He knows He has a burning love for us, and that we often don’t understand that. He came to set us free but we don’t always know we are bound up. He knows that He is the way to happiness and eternal life, and we are unsure if we want to walk on that road. He knows how much He thirsts for our love, and is willing to wait until we return it to Him.
Saint Manuel Gonzalez Garcia was canonized by Pope Francis on October 16th, 2016. St. John Paul beatified him in 2001.
Saint Manuel was a bishop in Spain who had a life changing experience of God’s love early on in his priestly ministry. He came to a town to give a mission. No one went to Mass, rarely anyone prepared themselves to receive Communion except perhaps at a wedding or Easter. He entered the Church and found the altar and tabernacle neglected and alone, abandoned and filthy.
Spiritually, however, he had an experience of Jesus, that changed him forever. As he prayed alone in that neglected Church, he had a profound awareness of the sadness of Jesus who yearned for our love and friendship. He realized very deeply that it was love that brought Jesus down from heaven to save us, and to wait for us in the Tabernacle and in the Sacraments. And very few people in that town knew it. Love was unloved.
Jesus came to be our food, to nurture and grow within us, His very life. He comes to us in order to feed His love in our hearts, minds, and souls. He comes not primarily because we need Him, but because He loves us.
Surveys today indicate that about two-thirds of Catholics do not understand or recognize the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. I was once one of those people. How that develops is complicated. But the reality is, Jesus wants to love you more than ever. He comes from Heaven to be our Heaven on earth. He understands, loves, and embraces us. He gives us the Sacraments to renew us in heart, mind, soul and spirit.
Do we know the joy of the Lord is our strength? Do we realize we are part of His Body? Do we understand that He is the fulfillment of all our desires? Lets take time after Mass today and this week to talk to Him. Let us thank Him and get to know Him, by visiting Him in Adoration or at the Tabernacle. He thirsts to love us, let us give Him the time, space, and permission to love us. Let’s move now, and not wait until later, to realize what we had all this time, and never knew. Let us know, and love, Love.
In Our Lady's Immaculate Heart,
Rev. Bjorn C. Lundberg