I have attended the same parish church since I was baptized in its sanctuary. Sadly, because of the Covid 19 pandemic and my own severe vulnerability, I have not physically attended the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in my home parish, or anywhere, for quite some time. The church is a part of me, however.
Since my return to my given Catholic faith, the 19th century wooden church has become so much my second home that my memory and imagination are intimately familiar with its look, feel, sound, and smell. Within those consecrated walls, before that altar of the Lord, I have been nourished, sustained, and strengthened, and my faith and understanding have been shaped. I’m sharing one such understanding here, as I continue to pray that I and every Christian will always proclaim the Good News with respect and humility, seeking to bring the world to Christ through His radiant light of love.
Above and to the right of the old marble altar is a stained-glass Sacred Heart of Jesus image. During the Holy Liturgy, He seems to look down at me as I look up at Him. I often gaze at Him, but I know that I’m not meant to meet God in the glass where this image is made. For I am made in His own divine image, and the Word of God was made flesh to live in my own human image … wonder of wonders … Christ is within me as I am within Him.
Light shines through the image of the Sacred Heart illuminating the altar, the priest, and the people in the pews, including me, uniting us all in this light that fills us with radiance. And the Light is love. Where God and I meet is in the light of love — His Sacred Heart — where human love and divine love beat as one.
Help us remember, Lord, that we are all united in the Sacred Heart of Jesus when we love all that God has created with the compassionate mercy that You have for us. Lord, forgive me for the times that I do not honor Your love by sharing with others the saving mercy of Your Sacred Heart but, rather, wound Your Tender Heart with sharp words, bitter disdain, willful neglect, or proud condemnation of my fellow human beings, all of whom are Your divine images. You love them all — us all — in every stage of development, age, appearance, disposition, and walk of life.
Help me, Lord, and everyone who professes faith in You, to never let the darkness of the world or evil inclinations overcome the Light of love in our hearts. Help us to truly reflect Your Light.
© 2020 Christina Chase
In the summer of 2020, I’m praying to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that God’s love for every human being — in every stage of development, age, appearance, disposition, ability, and walk of life — will be upheld on social media through the humility and loving respect of true Christian witness. This series of posts begins with Cut to the Heart.
Help me, Lord, and everyone who professes faith in You, to never let the darkness of the world or evil inclinations overcome the Light of love in our hearts. Help us to truly reflect Your Light.Tweet
Feature photo courtesy of my dad, © 2020 Dan Chase
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.