Our hearts are like houses with many rooms. As we see in that famous painting of Jesus knocking at the door of our heart/house, there is no door knob on the outside, depicting that it is up to us to choose to invite Him in. He never forces.
So, once we have invited Him in, it is not a matter of just leaving Him in the “living room” of our hearts to meet with during Sunday Mass or the like; and then go on with our lives the rest of the week apart from Him.
Rather, Jesus not only wants to be invited into the front room of our hearts that is kept nice and tidy. He wants to gradually come into every room of the houses of our hearts: our work, relationships, recreations, health, etc…
But how do we invite Him deeper? How do we know what room He wants to come into?
And the answer is that, ideally, He wants to be invited into every room and area of our lives that we find ourselves in throughout the day. I said ideally here, because it pretty sure won’t happen overnight. We, like St. Peter, are going to sink when we lose focus on Christ; when we enter into those rooms in our hearts that are dark and filled with fears, lies, etc., and we don’t invite Christ in with us.
My own rule of thumb of knowing where Christ is knocking, is to be attentive to my own heart experiences and feelings throughout the day. When I’m feeling insecure in some way, it is a neon light that Jesus is knocking. He is clearly not in the room I’m in. I am clearly not finding my security and identity in Him in the situation in which I find myself.
But the very good news is that He is waiting attentively for us to invite Him and His redeeming graces in. Just like Peter in his sink mode, crying out “Lord save me!” – He invited Jesus into the center of his anguish, darkness, insecurity, etc… and Jesus immediately responded, “Oh ye of little faith!” as He pulled him up to safety, security and a return of focus on and trust in Him.
Peter’s excursion is meant to signify our lives in various ways, as we seek to keep our eyes fixed on God and the Kingdom of His Divine Will. And, when we find ourselves becoming distracted from Him, or acting out of our own human will, this is a clear sign that we’ve entered into a room in our hearts without Him.
Why do I share this reflection around the Glorious Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary? To remind us all of the beauty and grace of this one woman who is total creature, but who lived her whole life entirely open to God and His grace (cf Gen. 3:15, Lk 1, Rev. 12). Due to her Immaculate Conception, from the beginning, every single room, nook and cranny of her heart was totally open and spic-n-span clean, inviting God and His will to be at the center.
Although Mary had a unique privilege at her conception, she could have chosen at any moment to close a room in her heart, to not cooperate with God’s grace and Divine Will, and to do her own will. And, might I add that, just as with Jesus, Mary was tested many times more than any of us will ever be. (cf Lk 12:48)
Yet, she chose to remain in the “dance with God,” at every moment/in every room of her heart.
And, it is for this reason that she has been given the title of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; and that she has been assumed body and soul into Heaven.
And, this is why Jesus tells us, “Behold your Mother! (Jn 19:27)” just before dying on the cross, giving us this most precious gift of His Mother to be our own.
It is as though He is telling us, “let her take you by the hand, carry you in her arms, and teach you how to know and love me with your whole heart (Mk 12:30)…And, also, allow yourself to experience from her the love of a perfect mother as I have.”
This is the grace of what takes place in us as we consecrate our lives to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. She takes our frail, broken and wounded hearts and gradually draws us to invite God’s healing, redeeming presence into every room that we can become ever-more pure, whole and holy as she is.
“Duc en Altum!” – “Cast out into the Deep!” Pope John Paul II tells us at the beginning of this new millennium; and, this is what he means for us to do!