Josemaría Escrivá Obras

Jesus on the cross, with his heart overflowing with love for men, is such an eloquent commentary on the value of people and things that words only get in the way. Men, their happiness and their life, are so important that the very Son of God gave himself to redeem and cleanse and raise them up. "Who will not love this heart so wounded?" a contemplative asks in this connection. "Who will not return love for love? Who will not embrace a heart so pure? We, who are made of flesh, will repay love with love. We will embrace our wounded one, whose hands and feet ungodly men have nailed; we will cling to his side and to his heart. Let us pray that we be worthy of linking our heart with his love and of wounding it with a lance, for it is still hard and impenitent."

These are thoughts, affections and conversations which souls in love with Jesus have offered him from the beginning. But if we are to understand this language, if we are really to know the heart of man, Christ's heart and the love of God, we need both faith and humility. We need the faith and humility that prompted St Augustine to write: "You have made us for you, O Lord, and restless will our heart be until it rests in you."

If a man is not humble, he will try to make God his own, but not in the divine way which Christ made possible when he said: "Take, eat; this is my body." The proud man tries to confine the grandeur of God within human limits. Then reason, the cold, blind reason that is so different from the mind imbued with faith and even from the well-directed mind of someone capable of enjoying and loving things, becomes irrational in a person's attempt to reduce everything to his cramped human experience. Thus is superhuman truth impoverished, and man's heart develops a crust that makes it insensitive to the action of the Holy Spirit. Our limited intelligence would be completely at a loss then if the merciful power of God did not break down the barriers of our wretchedness. "A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Only with God's help will the soul see again and be filled with joy on hearing the promises of sacred Scripture.

"I know the plans I have for you, plans for peace and not affliction," was God's promise through Jeremiah. The liturgy applies these words to Jesus, for in him we are clearly shown that God does love us in this way. He did not come to condemn us, to accuse us of meanness and smallness. He came to save us, pardon us, excuse us, bring us peace and joy. If only we realize the wonderful way in which God deals with his children, our hearts must change. We will see opening up before us an absolutely new panorama, full of relief, depth and light.

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