The Sacred Heart of Jesus

By Heather King (from Magnificat magazine, June 2013)

Recently I was walking to morning Mass in Los Angeles, with the trees and sky above, and the traffic and noise and violence of rush hour below. I kept looking up: to the birds; to a place where I could imagine it was quiet. If you get very quiet, you hear, at the very center of the universe, a pulse, a beat. You hear the birds and the honking horns, the suffering and the joy. You hear the Sacred Heart of Christ.

So in the middle of a city of millions, I decided to pray the rosary.

And praying the rosary after a couple of minutes what I “heard” was the people waiting for biopsy results, the husband to show up, the electricity to be turned back on, and I saw that these are the people who are sweating tears of blood with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.

I heard the tears of the teenage girl who is cutting herself, the child whose psychotic mother is forcing him to hold his hand over a gas stove, the women who are being raped, and these are the people who are being scourged at the pillar with Christ.

I heard the overworked heart of the CEO who opens his inbox to find two hundred messages, the day laborers wielding eardrum-shattering leafblowers for ten hours at a stretch, the twelve-year-old who must translate for her parents when immigration services come to the door, and these are the people who are staggering under the weight of the cross with Christ.

I heard the wife who has just discovered that her husband is having an affair with the housekeeper, the farmer who is forced to sell the generations-old family farm to a conglomerate, the playwright who has poured out his heart and soul and is panned on opening night by the critics, and these are the people who are being crowned with thorns along with Christ.

All over the world, all day, every day, people are suffering, and here comes Barry, the homeless schizophrenic and hopeless alcoholics who wanders Sunset Boulevard, one grimy hand clutching a plastic at holding his worldly belongings, the other held out in a perpetual plea for booze money. What to do in the face of such suffering? What to do with your brokenness, your weakness, your own suffering and loneliness and fear?

You give Barry a couple of bucks. You make sure to shake his hand and thank him, because this is Christ, and his heart is your heart. And you keep walking, to Mass.


“But above all preserve peace of heart. This is more valuable than any treasure. In order to preserve it there is nothing more useful than renouncing your own will and substituting for it the will of the divine heart. In this way his will can carry out for us whatever contributes to his glory, and we will be happy to be his subjects and to trust entirely in him.” – St. Margaret Mary

“Hey, you, the Superhero!”

Yeah, I’m talking to YOU!

The ordinary person made to do extraordinary things who is sitting in front of your computer right now…or lounging in bed on your iPad/phone…reading this, thinking, “Sorry, you must be talking to the wrong person, sister.”

Nope, I got it right. Think about it. Superheroes usually have very humble beginnings. Looking at these people, you would never guess they had the ability fly…leap from tall buildings in a single bound…much less save the world from evil. But they are particularly chosen and given special powers to help society, set aside for an incredible mission that must be completed for the good of all humanity.

YOU have been chosen. YOU have been endowed with amazing gifts called “charisms” that are meant to be used for the salvation of souls. In this time. In this very place. For this era that you have been born into, God wants to use you in a powerful way – to the same extent and with the same passion and intensity that He used every saint who has lived before you.

Saint? Yes, I say. You were made to be a saint! A spiritual superhero – filled with wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord – who is involved in the world, not as a spectator but as salt and light. You are meant to join the ranks of St. Paul…Sts. Perpetua and Felicity…St. Patrick…St. Martin de Porres…St. Teresa of Avila…St. Damien of Moloka’i…St. Josephine Bakhita…St. Maria Goretti…St. Maximilian Kolbe…St. Toribio Romo, and the countless faithful who left the mark of Jesus Christ in both the crosses they bore and the victories they claimed for His Kingdom.

But, see, you are not supposed to be another St. Pio of Pietrelcina, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, or St. Lorenzo Ruiz. You are supposed to be YOU.

On this feast of Pentecost, it is crucial for each of us to remember who we are in the eyes of God. WE ARE HIS CHILDREN. So that we are not left to our own devices, the Father and the Son sent us the very Love between them – the gift of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity – to dwell within our hearts and set us on fire with a flame that would purify our lives and empower us with an ardent desire to spread the Gospel message in word and in deed.

St. Paul says in Ephesians 4:1-7, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”

Upon accepting this gift, we should act heroically. We should love heroically. We should help save the world from utter spiritual destruction. We should be courageous enough to risk ridicule and criticism to give to others what we ourselves have received.

The greatest encouragement we hear from Jesus Himself is that we are not alone. As He was dying, He gave to us His own Mother. He sent the disciples out to the villages two by two. He established the Church before He ascended to the Father. We have the entire communion of saints – Church Triumphant in Heaven, Church Militant here on earth, and Church Suffering in Purgatory – to intercede for each one of us in the work we are called to do.

This holy assembly is much more powerful than any Justice League, ensemble of X-Men, Superfriends, or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Amen? AMEN!

Above all, we have Jesus our Lord and Savior Himself…God Incarnate…promise to us His very presence in the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Mt 28:19-20).

So now is the time… Rise up, you superheroes of the Kingdom, and become who you were made to be!


Is It Possible to Fail Successfully?

I have a 6th grader who often thinks out loud, asking hypothetical questions…not to anyone in particular.

“Is it possible to fail successfully?” he blurted out as he was getting ready to correct his Math homework.

I thought that was an interesting question.  It stuck with me for the next couple of days.

Some major life decisions Gary and I have faced lately actually forced me to reflect back on the life we have chosen together for both our marriage and our family.  I gave a talk today to a group of parents and told them that we were pretty radical…so much so that some people really don’t understand why we would go against social norms.

From choosing courtship over dating to saving our first kiss for the altar…from forgoing a reception after our wedding to having Gary quit his job and stay home with the kids.  We use natural family planning instead of artificial contraception.  We home-school our children.  We’re having our 4th baby in October, above the average 1.86 children in each American household.

As crazy as all of this may sound to others, we have been very grateful for God’s graces that help us appreciate the simple things in life and nurture our relationships with the time and attention they require.  It is true that we could be earning a lot more money than we do.  We could be taking exotic vacations, driving expensive cars, or living in a luxurious house if we just took a different path.

But as Fr. Craig said to me recently with a grin from ear to ear, “We are called to be fools for Christ, Marianne.  The world will not always accept or appreciate why we do what we do, but the important thing is knowing that we are doing God’s will.”

I do not stand in criticism over families who are well-to-do and are given opportunities to use their wealth according to God’s plan for their lives.  To each is given blessings and responsibilities that accompany them.  However, in the eyes of those who solely base success on material growth, we have failed.  Considering their perspective, I believe we have failed successfully.

Our marriage is healthy…our kids are happy…and they know Our Lord.  Their education also is coming along quite nicely, thanks to Dad’s supervision and guidance.  Even as I type this, our 2-year-old boy is going through his sisters’ reading book and pointing out all the letter sounds he has learned.

Our life is by no means perfect, nor is it easy.  It surely is not a cookie-cutter model for all families to follow.  Yet each step of the way, God sets His word before us as a light unto our path showing us which direction to take.  We can only be obedient to His call because only He knows what is in store for us and each one of our children.  The foundation we are laying for them will prepare them for their vocations, for their careers, and for Heaven.  We must also believe that our efforts will sanctify us and purify our own hearts to be formed and molded more and more into God’s likeness.  And that is what matters the most.

To be honest with you, I would absolutely LOVE to spend a few weeks in Hawaii or go traversing all over Europe.  But the reward will come someday, after the daily grind is over and I have done my part as a wife and mother.  Jesus promises eternal paradise to each one of us…final rest in the Father’s loving arms…with no worry in the world…if we are simply faithful to Him and His commandments.

Love God_Love Others

“There are no ‘if’s’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety – let us pray that we may always know it!”
Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

How great is Your love

May we always move and live and have our entire being immersed in the love God has for us. He truly sets us FREE…

…free from all fear
…free from all doubt
…free from all sin
…free from death itself

Our God reigns supreme, and it is He alone who we must look to for everything we need here on earth.