We constantly and restlessly seek the good, the true and the beautiful in our pursuit for the peace and happiness that can only come from God.
Scripture and Church teaching constantly remind us of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Mary is our model, Jesus is our elder brother, and God, in presenting them to the human race, has promised to replace our heart and spirit with His own (see Heart). What a gift!
With such a great and unmerited blessing being offered to us by our Creator, what must our response be? It must be child-like, both in its simplicity and purity of intention: we must invite God in.
You can start with a prayer to God, kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament if possible, asking from the Heart that He send us the graces from the Holy Spirit necessary to prepare us for the fulfillment of this promise. This was part of what John the Baptist meant when he said “Make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1:23). John the Baptist exemplified how to do this when he said there was “one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie“. We must begin with the grace of Humility.
Humility is the key to being open to all of God’s graces, and thereby invites God to work within your heart. Wtih humility you possess the key to the peace promised by Jesus, because it is the foundation for the cross He asks us to carry. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34). When you follow Jesus, you invite His perfect love to infuse and inspire your heart and soul.
But what is the cross Jesus asks us to carry? St. Frances de Sales describes a spiritual cross in Introduction to the Devout Life. The spiritual cross to which he refers is the consecration of our life to the love and service of God through:
- Obedience: consecration of the heart
- Chastity: consecration of the body
- Poverty: consecration of all worldly goods
Humility is the foundation of Obedience, Chastity and Poverty, and through this beautiful joining with Christ you are enabled to respond to God’s loving invitation, opening the riches of Heaven in your Heart. This is also your entrance into the path of sainthood (see We are Called to be Saints).
You can renew this each day with the Lord’s Prayer. As you recite the phrase “Thy kingdom come“, you pray to God for His kingdom to grow in your heart, and are reminded of your role in this through the carrying of your spiritual cross. It is during this prayer that you can offer your daily burdens to God as part of your sacrifice.
Carrying a cross is harder than any human being can endure on their own. To receive the supernatural strength and endurance necessary for this, invoke the intercessions of the angels and saints, and especially of Mary, your mother, all of whom will pray to God, out of love for you, that He send you the assistance you need through the Holy Spirit.
As challenging as it is to invite God to enter our hearts, it is an opportunity for divine growth beyond our mortal dimension. When we encounter challenges beyond our human limits, instead of being crushed in our sorrows, we can grow into the divine servant of God we are called to be.