Thomas Griffin 8/27/21
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The Poco a Poco Podcast by The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal has entered its newest season traveling “little-by-little,” investigating the heart of God through a dive into the person of Christ. Reflecting on the response of Jesus’ heart is the best and surest way to look God in the face.
“The Heart of God” is the title of one of the latest episodes which introduces why this theme is so important while highlighting some of what is to come in this new season. The intention in this series is to dig deep and “mine out” just who God is. Once we arrive at a location where we begin to meet Him we will see just how radically He will change how we interact with the world.
When we view God from our sinful state we must always keep in mind that, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church mentions, sin is our choice to deaden our trust in the Lord. Encountering God’s heart will allow us to further trust in His goodness above everything else. We will come to realize that His heart is the remedy and the medicine to heal the wounds of our own heart.
Discovering the heart of God means we must, we must look at the movements of Jesus’ heart on earth because Christ has the literal face of God. The passages that we will look at in later episodes will reveal just what made Jesus rejoice, angry, sad and compassionate. These insights will heal us and exclaim to our hearts that we must never get caught up in our own sin, struggles, or darkness.
So often people are led to despair because of personal difficulties or because of the crises found in the world and the Church. And yet, Christ comes to us and asks: do you think I know what you are going through? Jesus was God, and he had a huge following during his ministry but he was ultimately abandoned by those that loved him most and was put to death for being the most innocent man to ever live.
Therefore, he knows the movements of our heart and the depths of our joys and sufferings better than anyone ever could. When we meet his heart, he will show us that all he really desires is for us to totally trust him. He will tell us that he sees me, knows me, and loves me personally. Knowing him on that level will make us into other Christ’s and give us the strength to follow him unreservedly.
We can see the effect of encountering Christ’s heart in the lives of some of his greatest saints. St. Maximilian Kolbe was murdered in Auschwitz after he took the place of a prisoner who pleaded to the guards because he had a wife and family. “In the heart of Maximilian Kolbe, Jesus snuck into Auschwitz” telling those who were in the darkest place on earth that God stops at nothing to be with us.
St. Malachi spent his life serving the lepers in Molokai, Hawaii because no one else was willing to show their hearts the heart of Christ. He later contracted the disease and died serving the least with the greatest love: giving witness to Jesus’ heart for those who are left behind by the world.
St. Leopold of Castelnuovo lived as a Capuchin friar for the majority of his life and spent somewhere between eight and sixteen hours a day hearing confessions. After his death and during World War II, the friary where he spent his life was bombed and left in shambles. One of the only parts of the building left completely untouched was the location of the confessional where Leopold heard thousands of confessions: standing as a memorial to the mercy of the heart of the Lord.
In the lives of these three saints one can easily view the heart of God at work. Jesus snuck into Auschwitz, the leper colony and the confessional revealing that he wants to get in every dark hole on the earth. These saints also show us that it is in the hidden and simple ways that Christ comes most powerfully to us.
The Eucharist is the most important and greatest example of this simplicity. In small pieces of bread, locked up in boxes inside of unvisited churches, Jesus’ heart is really and truly present. So, let us find him in the small and hidden and let us make our way to the Eucharist knowing that His Presence and His heart saves us from ourselves and makes us holy, like Him.
Thomas Griffin teaches at a Catholic high school on Long Island and lives with his wife and son. He writes for several Catholic media outlets.
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