By: Emma Brown
“I want to be the best at riding unicorns,” a 5-year-old girl told me with confidence.
This summer I had the opportunity to be a missionary with Totus Tuus (a catechetical program for children and youth). It was amazing in so many ways. One of the great blessings was witnessing the childlike hope of the children. At one point I asked the kids to draw a picture of something they wanted to be the best at. Their answers ranged from movie stars to hockey players and, yes, even unicorn-riders.
It was a sweet reminder to me of the beauty of having big—even impossible—dreams. Their hearts were so free to desire. They had never known the sting of failure or the weight of disappointment.
I must have been like that too at one point. I remember dreaming of making it big on Broadway and being swept into a great Hollywood-style romance. But as I grew older I experienced more disappointment and insecurity. I shut down my girlhood dreams. I told myself, “Don’t expect much and then you won’t be let down.”
This isn’t a good way to live. It’s a life of fearful indifference. That’s not what God has made us for. The name of this movement even points to that. We are made for more. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
In my fear of disappointment, I wasn’t living abundantly. But Christ has begun to change that, just as He promised.
As I’ve come closer to Jesus these past several years, the heart I numbed has begun to melt. I’ve become more aware of how much I desire. I can trust Him. He is a good Father, so I can be childlike. I can hope. I can want more. I can expect much.
And what do I want? Love. Above all, to be loved infinitely.
It’s sometimes scary to want so much. I feel needy and vulnerable. I want to be able to provide for myself. I want to be self-reliant. There are lots of things I can seemingly provide for myself (money, comfort, fun). But I can’t provide love. Love is inherently dependent. Our need for love casts out our self-reliance and our pride. I have to turn outward. I have to turn to God.
And I can never want more love than He has for me. You can never want more love than He has for you. Let that sink in.
I was reminded of this just a couple weeks ago. I went to a Eucharistic Adoration chapel to pray. I brought to Jesus my need for love. In the silence and the intimacy of that time, He showed me that I have no idea how much He loves me. He showed me that it’s not that I want too much but too little. He wants to stretch my heart so I can receive more of His love.
C.S. Lewis put it perfectly when he wrote, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Far too easily pleased.
We shouldn’t be content with just the pleasures of this world. We must long for Christ. We must long for the love He has for us, a love without limit.
You are loved infinitely. Do you want to experience that?
St. Augustine says, “Enlarge your desires…the greater our desire, the larger will be our capacity to receive that gift, which is very great indeed.”
I’ve been realizing that this stretching of the heart can be scary and even painful at times. It’s much easier not to want anything. But it’s also beautiful and necessary and good. My capacity to receive God’s infinite love is being expanded and that’s incredible! In His love all my dreams are realized and all my desires are fulfilled.
Who needs to ride unicorns when the God of the universe delights in you?