Be Brave, My Heart
I recently came back from Christopher West’s course about Theology of the Body and he loved the movie “Braveheart” so I decided to watch it. I was drawn to the whole story: the sacrifice, the love that Wallace and Murron shared and of course the Scottish accents. Wallace exemplifies the desire we have for love and the ache we experience when nothing seems to satisfy. I was so moved by the heartache Wallace feels during the movie. He experiences deep suffering, and ache but the suffering comes from fighting for what is true, good and beautiful.
Strength, Beauty and Suffering
Murron offers Wallace a thistle to show she cares and to ease his emotional pain. She risks sharing her beauty with him and her beauty helps heal his suffering. He accepts it and keeps it for many years. Mercy is learning to share in each other’s misery and learn how to suffer with others by giving own heart as a resting place. This scene perfectly depicts how a woman’s beauty inspires a man’s strength and how in turn, the man’s strength inspires a woman’s beauty. Wallace was willing to suffer, be beaten and lay his life down for Murron because his desire to honour, protect and lead affirmed his masculinity.
There are three stages of suffering:
- Denial of the suffering
- accepting the pain
- embracing the pain.
Wallace also endure all three stages – he first deals with his pain with revenge and murder as a form of denial. He then accepts his situation and rallies other Scottish brothers to fight with him. At the end, he suffers for his bride and lays his life down for his beloved as he embraces his cross.
Suffering brings forth beauty. When we suffer, we have a profound taste of Jesus. When Jesus was crucified, we were healed through His wounds. Crucifixion was the remedy for our broken humanity. In our own lives, we need crucifixion to get rid of our crutches and through that pain, we get to resurrection to become who we truly are. Jesus can’t kill our crutches without our permission. Our crutches feel like we are being stripped naked and a part of us is killed when they are taken away as we base our identity on it. But we must remember St. JPII’s words that “Suffering is present to unleash life” as struggle teaches us to have continual receptivity. If we add truth and love to our wounds, we will receive healing as “the gift of grace increases as the struggle increases” -St. Rose of Lima.
Openness to Love
Jesus wants to deepen our hearts to feel the deepest desires but we are closed up and hurt by past rejection and fear. Courage tells the story of who you are with your whole heart as cor means heart. Each of us has a story to share. Our fear of transparency needs to be faced to get close to Jesus – being vulnerable is the only way to let Him enter our hearts. We need to remove masks, the real me is loved by Him. Who I am is who God loves. Take that in for a moment. Let that sit in your heart.
In the movie, Princess Isabelle is so inspired by Wallace’s unceasing love for Murron that she also opens her heart to Wallace. Princess Isabelle uses her knowledge to save Wallace from the English. Love moves us to protect those we love. One of the movie’s lines are very poignant: “Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it…” We have to follow and learn the inner desire of our hearts.
We are made for love and we desire true freedom. We strive to get love. We grasp for it. We need to see own misery and still be open to receive love. Our value is not lessened by our flaws. You are not earning love. You already have it. Saints don’t hide their misery from God, they expose it to Him. Lazarus was dead and his stench was strong but Jesus told them to move the stone. Jesus is not afraid of our stench. He wants to bring us new life!
The Ache for more reminds us of our need for God, our longing of the human heart. We need to rest in the ache and rekindle the desire for truth in us. The groaning for more stretches our hearts. The desire for eternity is stamped in our hearts because nothing can satisfy us totally on earth. On the radio, musicians sing about the ache all the time – the desire for love is promoted everywhere we go. Loneliness follows even if we’re surrounded by a crowd because nothing can heal the ache but perfect love.
At Murron’s funeral, Wallace can’t even find words to express his sorrow to Murron’s grieving father. All he can do is lower his head and fall to his knees before his father-in-law. A wife and a daughter is no more. We can see that his deep anguish and disappointment stem from unfulfilled desires. Wallace mourned that he would never have a family with Murron and that he would never experience life with her.
Sometimes I feel anger towards God at my yearning and need for so much. I hate dependency and feeling alone. But I realized something: we need to pass through the restlessness and be taught courage. It is only through agony that we can get to ecstasy. It is only through poverty that we can get to the riches. It is only through fasting that we can get to the feasting. It is only though the silence that we can hear the music.
Sometimes crying in front of Jesus is the most honest prayer. Prayer is nothing but becoming a longing for God and learning to groan before Him. I once heard that “if you want to kiss the sky, you need to kneel.” Revealing yourself for who you are in prayer is the greatest gift you can give to Him. You are made for true intimacy and an ecstasy that transcends all things. God has placed eternity in your heart. Don’t lose heart!
Let us pray: Jesus I desire you, increase my desire! Into your hands, Jesus, I commend my desires and the satisfaction of my desires. Help me to redirect my desire to Heaven. Claim me Jesus before this ocean claims me first. Lord I treasure your promises. I love you. Amen.