Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope
The world has a way of hardening us, toughening us. Part of the beauty of innocence is its vulnerability, but that means the freedom to be wounded, and few are able to maintain that freedom. Instead, the way most people process life experience leads to a steady hardening of the heart, until, if we are not careful, we become quite sclerotic.
Our Lord bids us be “wise as serpents and gentle as doves.” He sends us out as sheep among wolves, but never tells us to become wolves. Rather, his own vulnerability invites us to share His gentleness of heart, and guarantees that our very salvation comes through wounds, our wounds united with His. He is the Lamb of God.
And so the Lord promises: “I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts.” May we cooperate with His desire for us to share in His Sacred Heart – a heart pierced, and pierced because of His generosity in being vulnerable to the “slings and darts of outrageous fortune.”
Grace: An intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, that filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.
Reflection: In the meditation upon sin, we made reference to Dante’s vision of hell, a cold, desolate place where the fire of love has been extinguished and all lies in a spiritual torpor. This is the perfect image of the heart grown cold to the stirrings of love which God places within it. At the opposite end of Dante’s journey lies a vision that perfectly encapsulates the final meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love. From the lowest reaches of the spiritual universe, Dante ascends to the heights of heaven, where he views “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.” At the heart of the universe lives the Trinitarian God, whose perfect love draws all being into an ordered symphony of praise. Dante feels himself drawn into this harmonic vision through the enflaming of his passions and desires. No one with eyes to see can sit impassively at the vision of God’s love. From the disordered state in which Dante had fallen at the beginning of the poem, he becomes progressively cleansed of his disordered affections through the grace of God and the intercession of Beatrice until finally he is able to pass through the heavens and stand in the presence of God. But notice that Dante only sees God’s depths after he has been interiorly transformed.