The Human Heart
“Why is the human heart shaped as it is? The human heart is not shaped like a valentine heart, perfect and regular in contour; it is slightly irregular in shape as if a small piece of it were missing out of its side. That missing part may very well symbolize a piece that a spear tore out of the Universal Heart of Humanity on the Cross, but it probably symbolizes something more. It may very well mean that when God created each human heart, He kept a small sample of it in Heaven, and sent the rest of it into the world of time, where it would each day learn the lesson that it could never be really happy, that it could never be really wholly in love, that it could never be really whole-hearted until it rested with the Risen Christ in an eternal Easter, until it went back to the Timeless to recover the sample which God had kept for it from all eternity.” (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)
I was blessed this summer to be introduced to the writings of Archbishop Fulton Sheen. However, it is only recently that I stumbled upon his reflection of the human heart. What a beautiful image Sheen paints with his words. I have reflected before on the idea of God being the only one to be able to fulfill all of our needs and that He alone is love. We are called to rely, depend, and turn to Him with our greatest necessities and desires. We must recognize that before we can wholly love we must know our Lord. Sheen writes “It may very well mean that when God created each human heart, He kept a small sample of it in heaven, and sent the rest of it into the world of time, where it would each day learn the lesson that it could never be really happy, that it could never be really wholly in love, that it could never be really whole hearted until it rested with the Risen Christ” (F. Sheen).
Here on earth we are given a glimpse of Love, a little window view into the happiness, love, and joy that awaits us in Heaven. Often times we may think that we experience this elation with another, only to then be humbled by the reality of disagreement, disenchantment, and disappointment. We may as a result run to the arms of someone else, something else, or even solitude to deprive us of knowing this disappointment and hurt of the human heart. One may ask the question: “What else can be done? I would like to argue that perhaps we need to view this hurt in our hearts, these feelings of disappointment, and confusion as clear evidence that we have a need in our hearts that cannot be fulfilled by any human emotion (or person) as Sheen suggests.
There is a need for divine intervention and presence within us to attain a true state of love. We are not called to wallow in our “heart hurts”, but to turn to God openly and say.. Lord I know you are the Father of Love and all that is good. Help me to constantly turn to You so that I may be filled with enough love here on earth to love as You intended until I am home with You. It is so difficult in the face of these hurts to offer everything up and to truly turn to God in the moments when our emotions seem to precede all reason, and faith. We must remain fervent in prayer and surrender so that we can attain the peace and serenity to fully trust in the Lord. When we recognize that our heart can only be satisfied when it rests with the Risen Christ we can then remove the judgment of unfulfilled expectations, and the unhealthy dependency on the “other” to give us what ONLY GOD CAN GIVE. Does this mean that we settle for a relationship that is less than loving? No, it means that you turn your life, your love, and your heart to the Lord and LET GOD CONTINUE TO WORK AND REVEAL HIMSELF. Trust that the Lord will bring you the clarity and peace that you need to make your decisions. Have faith, and rest in the fact that He will provide all that you need to heal, learn, and love.
Let us pray: Lord today I thank You for the gift of a loving heart. Thank you for providing me with the capacity to love and share myself. Forgive me for the times I have not turned to You, and for failing to recognize that You alone can give me all that I need. Lord help us see that it is through turning to You that we may come to know love on earth to its fullest potential until we walk with You. May our hearts become like the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Lord help us trust You so that we may give our hearts selflessly without expectation of reciprocity. Lord aid those who experience marital difficulties, may they recognize the need for You at the centre of their union. Guide each of us to live out our love here on earth as you designed it to be. Lead us to glorify You in our relationships and give us strength in purity of heart, chastity, and prayer. Bless our Priests, celibates, and single brothers and sisters, so that they may feel the warmth of your love abundantly around them.