We have spent some time looking at the various wounds of the heart, wounds that can be extremely painful and destructive, and are in desperate need of tending and care. We have looked at how the Sacred Heart of Jesus offers the perfect remedy for these wounds, but it can still be difficult to approach healing beyond the intellectual understanding of it. What follows is a meditation on the Sacred Heart to facilitate the transition from head to heart. Trusting in the abundant love of God and his desire to heal, let us come before him with our wounds, suffering, and pain, for his only desire for us is to encounter his love and the new life it brings.
Acknowledging the Need
As we begin this meditation, we quiet our minds, asking the Holy Spirit to guide us during this time of prayer. Spend a few moments setting aside the concerns and stresses of daily life and turning your attention inward. Notice the current state of your heart. Do you feel anxious, stressed, concerned, or preoccupied? Are you tired, saddened, or numb? What weight or darkness surrounds your heart?
Ask yourself, how am I in need of the love of God right now, at this moment? What do I long to hear from him? Perhaps we need clarity, peace, joy, freedom, relief from suffering, a sense of purpose or belonging, reassurance of love and care, etc. Do not be afraid to acknowledge whatever it is that your heart cries out for. You may even spend time writing these thoughts down or saying them out loud to acknowledge your need for healing. Allow whatever emotions surrounding this need to arise, whether that be anger, sadness, frustration, or fear. Present all of this to God.
After acknowledging your need before God, express to him in your own words that you trust him and are confident that he desires to and can heal your wounds. Your confidence here may still be hesitant or uncertain, and that is OK. Acknowledge that and remain confident in his love for you.
Identifying the Wounds
Aware of your need and of the pain that surrounds this need, it is now time to examine the wounds. Perhaps you have many wounds, or perhaps you can only name one. Whichever is the case, spend time writing down or expressing what hurts and why. Be as specific as possible and take as much time as you need. Remember, even if these wounds are a result of your own sin, God is not looking to condemn or punish you. Examining your wounds gives God permission to examine them as well and provide you with the remedy. He longs to heal your heart.
Gazing on His Wounds
Humbly aware of your wounds, in all of their ugliness and pain, turn your gaze now to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As you hold up your wounds, notice the wounds of his Sacred Heart. Notice how familiar these wounds look, how deep and piercing they are. These wounds look so familiar because they are your wounds imprinted on his heart. He is intimately aware of the pain and suffering you endure, even if you are not even fully aware of the extent of these wounds.
Gazing upon these wounds, you notice that his heart is not crushed, cold, hidden, or dead. No, this heart beats with love and is fully alive, strong, and unwavering. It is as if the wounds only strengthen the heart, rather than weaken or destroy it. You feel the warmth of the fire of love coming forth from this most Sacred Heart. You are drawn in closer and are not afraid. Rather, you feel at home, completely known and understood, and fully aware of compassion with which this heart calls you forth.
Drawn in closer, Jesus asks you, “What would you like me to do for you?” (see Luke 18:41) Let your heart speak to the Sacred Heart, responding to his question. Do not be afraid. How he longs to fulfill the desires of your heart and to heal your every wound. How does he respond? Even if words fail you, know that your heart can converse with his without understanding the exchange intellectually. Simply remain open, trusting, and at peace.
Resting in Love
However Jesus has responded, you can be confident that his Sacred Heart beats with love for you as if you were the only person in the world. Before ending your time in prayer, rest in this love that he generously and constantly pours out for you. End with the following prayer or your own prayer to the Sacred Heart.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, font of love and mercy, and source of every blessing,
Pour out your love upon my wounded and suffering heart.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, burning with the fire of charity for every soul,
Purify my heart and draw me ever closer to your divine embrace.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, wounded by my own sin, and familiar with all suffering,
Forgive me of my sins and restore me to life.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, through which every heart finds solace and refuge,
Be my strength, my courage, my fortress, and my defender.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, proof of the Father’s love and desire for me,
I place all my trust in you. Amen.
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Caroline Harvey is the associate communication director for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Prior to working at the archdiocese, Caroline worked in various ministry positions throughout southeast Wisconsin, focusing on teaching and discipleship. She is pursuing a doctor of ministry degree in liturgical catechesis from the Catholic University of America. She has a master of arts degree in biblical theology and a bachelor of arts in communications media from John Paul the Great Catholic University.
Featured image of Sacred Heart of Jesus statue in Church of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (Columbus, Ohio) sourced from Wikimedia Commons