Love Is Not Loved

I am not like a pebble on the beach — a grain of sand on the seashore or just one of millions of human beings past, present, and future. No, I am a unique human being loved by God as if I were an only child — the only fruit of His creative powers.

He loves me.

He created me out of nothing — breathed a soul into my body, endowed me with a personality destined to give Him a unique kind of glory for all eternity because He loves me.

Jesus is the perfect image of the Father. When I look at Jesus, I see the Father — I see Love — I see the Spirit and the Spirit loves me.

If I were to put all the love in the world into one heart it would be merely as a spark in comparison with the love the Heart of Jesus has for me.

I cannot fathom this kind of love because I have never seen a love so great. But is this true? Can I say I have never seen this degree of love? The Eternal Word left His Glory and came down to live among a people indifferent to His love. From the first moment of His entry into this world He felt the coldness in men’s hearts and yet, His tiny Heart, beating in the crib — beat out of love. “He came unto His own and His own did not receive Him” (Jn. 1:11).

At the Last Supper, “The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus . . . so leaning back on Jesus’ breast he said, ‘Who is it Lord?’ ” (Jn. 13:23, 25). John asked Jesus for the name of His betrayer. To deny Jesus the love He deserves and the gratitude His graces demand is a betrayal also on my part. I wonder if His Heart beat faster under the strain of disappoint­ment? Did John hear the Divine Heart skip a beat as the cold betraying heart of Judas turned more and more to hatred? The heart feels and reacts to human emotions and who can fathom the emotions of One who loved with the Heart of God? Who can understand the deep hurt in the Heart of Jesus as the one He loved turned away?

This article is from “Mother Angelica on Christ and Our Lady.” Click image to preview or order.

As John leaned upon the breast of Jesus, did his own heart react in fear — fear of the unknown tragedy about to occur? Did Jesus look at John with a heart full of love — full of sorrow in the realization that He could not lift a finger to alleviate the pain in the heart of John as he was about to see His Master suffer so terribly?

The Heart of Jesus — Seat of Love — was torn by love — love for Judas, who rejected His love — love for John, who was soon to endure great sorrow — love for His Apostles, who would not understand His death and so would lose sight of His resur­rection — love for His Mother, who would have to stand by, helpless, and see Him treated like a fool — “a worm and no man” (Ps. 22:6).

Mary gave Him birth and now she shares the longing of His broken Heart to suffer for mankind and for me.

I do not understand a love that is fed and set aflame for one as ungrateful as I. My love grows cold when pain and sacrifice make themselves felt. Love seems to be squeezed out of my heart by the weight of the cross. But He is so different. His Heart yearns to prove Itself — yearns to show me the extent of its depth — yearns to manifest its intensity by the lengths it goes to sacrifice.

My love manifests itself when receiving, His by giving. My love diminishes in pain, His has no limits. My love expands when He says “yes” to all my requests — His love was joyful to do the Father’s Will even when His request was not granted.

My love vacillates — it is on fire today and cold tomorrow — His love for me is constant and faithful, forever the same. His unlimited and changeless love is like a crown of thorns around His Heart and my sins of ingratitude and lukewarmness are the cruel points on every thorn. When I am hurt by someone, my love grows cold and this coldness hardens my heart. It acts like an anesthetic — it deadens the pain. This is not so with His Heart. His love for me flows from a never ending fountain of love — totally unselfish — burning brightly. It continues to burn for me and because it does not diminish when I offend Him — His Love — His limitless Love causes His Heart a pain unknown to man.

Surely, the Heart that Jesus showed to St. Margaret Mary — the burning Heart surrounded with thorns — was encircled by a combination of its own intensity and my offenses — my selfish demands and preferences. When limitless Love meets selfish pettiness, the force of constrained Love, unrequited, turns around itself in pain. It cannot diminish and yet there is no return of love on the part of the creature so beloved by Jesus. This is truly a crown of thorns around a Heart forever faithful but rejected and put aside for less worthy loves.

The Heart of Jesus longs for my love because He is so good. He longs to fill me with His own peace — a peace the world and all the things I run after cannot give. He stands at the door of my heart, waiting to be invited in. How often he stands outside in the cold, as He once did in a cave of Bethlehem, waiting for me to acknowledge His presence — to respond to His Love, to tell Him I love Him.

A Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Compassionate Heart of Jesus have mercy on me!

The Heart of Jesus is compassionate and understanding. It has felt the sting of ingratitude and when my heart suffers from that same offense, I can turn to Him and He understands my feelings. There is a great difference, however, in our reactions to ingratitude. His loving Heart forgives so easily — mine be­comes resentful. How can I obtain that kind of unselfish heart? There is only one way — I need to look at that Heart that is so compassionate towards sinners and make it my own. I must meditate on His love and mercy towards me and then my heart will soften at the next blow — the next pain — it will not harden itself against suffering. My heart is cold, selfish, and indifferent, but the light radiating from His Heart will touch mine and change it like the sun peeking through the dark clouds.

Gentle Heart of Jesus make me meek and humble.

One day Jesus was talking to His Apostles and He said, “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in Heart and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29).

Jesus asks me to go to Him when I am overburdened. He did not promise to take away those burdens, for I must carry mine as He carried His. But I can make them lighter by going to Jesus — by placing them in His Heart. When I do that He promised to make those burdens His own for He asked me to shoulder His yoke. My crosses become His Crosses because His Sacred Heart takes whatever pain I suffer and feels it with me. His love for me reaches into my heart, takes the pain and makes it His own. Love shares not only joy, but suffering. Love feels the agonies of the beloved more keenly for the force of love intensifies every pain and every trial.

Jesus feels my sorrow greater than I for His love is infi­nite and he suffers in an infinite way. He has done something greater than take away my sufferings — He has made them His very own. He wants me to bear those sufferings in the same way He bore His in His life — meekly and with a humble heart.

He does not want the bitterness of what I may consider undeserved suffering to harden my heart and make it a vessel of resentment.

He does not want the fire of anger to consume and destroy the very tissues of my heart. The injustices He suffered never lessened His love or His desire to do the Father’s Will. He kept His eyes on the Father for He placed His burden in the Father’s Heart.

He told His Apostles, “No one has ever seen God: it is only the Son who is nearest to the Father’s heart who has made Him known” (Jn. 1:18). Jesus, who was so close to the Father’s Heart, manifested the perfections of the Father. I can see the Father in Jesus for they are one. So it must be with me. I must stay close to the fire of love in the Heart of Jesus. I must see how that Heart reacted to life’s sufferings and then react to those trials with the same love and humility as Jesus.

As Jesus showed the whole world the Father — “He who sees me sees the Father,” so I must show the world the loving Heart of Jesus by possessing that Heart as my own (Jn. 14:9). Dare I aspire to that degree of holiness that could say, “He who sees me, sees Jesus?” Yes, I may so desire for that is the “rest” He promised if I learned from His Heart the secrets of peaceful living.

Merciful Heart of Jesus teach me to forgive.

Shortly after they crucified Jesus He said, “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Surely, this beautiful mercy shows me the intensity of His Love! He cannot stop loving — He cannot condemn even in the midst of monstrous injustice! He leaves judgment to the Father. His Heart is meek and humble to the last and He seeks clemency on the very ones who caused His agony. The mercy of God was there — ready to forgive the very men who hated Him. The question is whether their hearts ever became repentant in order to receive the mercy offered to them. The Heart of Jesus always extends mercy to me. It is my heart that finds repentance difficult.

I need never worry about His merciful Heart — it is my pride and unrepentant heart that can cause me to fail Him and reject Him. In order to keep from falling into that pit of never ending darkness, I must be always merciful and forgiving. I cannot look at the injustice or offense done to me. Like Jesus I must possess a Heart ever ready to intercede for the very ones who offend me. My heart should radiate the love of Jesus to the extent of never being lessened by injury — never diminishing because of rejection, never changed by coldness. Love was nailed to a tree by hateful men, but It never ceased to be Love. Jesus, the perfect image of the Father, would mani­fest the Father’s love and mercy to the very last. I need never question His mercy but only fear an unrepentant heart that will not accept that mercy.

Pierced Heart of Jesus, hide me within You.

The disciple whom Jesus loved tells us that “One of the soldiers pierced His side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water” (Jn. 19:34). Love goes to extremes. Infinite love had to give every last drop of life-giving blood. We know that there is no pain like the pain of a great loss of blood — no thirst so great as the parched lips of one so weakened by a loss of fluids. And yet, St. Mark tells us that Jesus “gave a loud cry and breathed his last” (Mk. 15:37). The Love in the Heart of Jesus felt the pain of every drop of blood He shed for my redemption. Every pain was voluntarily accepted and endured for love of me. Every drop of blood was shed and cried out, “I love you.”

When the soldier pierced His Heart, that last drop was shed and with it — water. It was Divinity giving Itself to human­ity — giving birth to a people freed from the tyranny of the Enemy. From the side of Adam came Eve, created without pain in a deep, peaceful sleep. From the pierced side of Jesus came forgiveness — a redeemed people redeemed through the pain and death of their God — redeemed by the love enclosed in a Divine Heart — purchased by sorrow and now forever opened and flowing with a never ending love — a fountain of living water and He did all this for me.

Risen and Glorious Heart of Jesus give me joy.

“Then He spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are My hands. Give Me your hand; put it into My side. Doubt no longer but believe” (Jn. 20:27). Jesus asks me to “look.” He wants me to look at His Hands and pierced Heart. They are proofs of His Love and Mercy. They shout out in one long “I love you.” They are to be my source of joy, for joy is mine when I realize how much He loves me. Joy increases and abounds when His love for me becomes a reality. I was born into this world by the pain of my mother and I was born into eternal life by the pain of my God. Both pains were borne with love — one finite to give me life — one infinite to give me eternity. Is it not a joy to know I was created by Love, born with love, and redeemed through Love? Yes, St. John tells us clearly, “This is the Love I mean: not our love for God, but God’s love for us when He sent His Son to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away” (1 Jn. 4:10).

Joy and peace do not come from anything outside of me, but only in the depths of my heart where Jesus and I are alone. It is the joy of His Resurrected Heart that must radiate to my neighbor. It was purchased at a great price, it is a treasure above all treasures — the pearl of great price — I am loved by God — the Heart of Jesus was pierced so the blood of His Di­vinity and the water of my humanity might flow together and manifest the love of the Father for mankind.

Sacred Heart of Jesus make my heart like unto Thine — meek, humble, and forever loving.

My Jesus, You are Love that is not loved. You are ignored by those You died for and hated by Your Enemies. Your children have become lukewarm and lost their zeal for Your honor and glory. We think more of ourselves and our crosses than Your sorrow over our sins. As You cry — we laugh, for our minds and hearts have become insensitive to the dangers around us.

We seem to be buried deep in the ice of our indifference, but we cry out to Your sorrowful Heart and beg You to let Your Merciful Love shine upon us and melt the coldness within. We have been deceived by the lure of riches and the spirit of the world. We have become an affluent, technological society, advanced beyond all the ages of the past. But, my Lord, we are still the most deprived, the most poor, and the most hungry people ever to inhabit Your earth. It is sad to realize that in the age when man has spoken to man from the moon, he has not reached or spoken to the God in his heart.

In using the mind You have given us to plumb the secrets of creation — we ignore the God of creation residing in our hearts. We are like children absorbed in building castles in the sand and forgetting the security of living in a house built on rock.

Let us contemplate Your Heart, Lord Jesus, a heart that is loving each one of us with a personal love. We desire to make reparation to Your Sacred Heart by dedicating our lives to following the gospel, to loving as You love, to doing the Father’s Will, and to radiating the joy that comes from loving hearts. Our sins are beyond comprehension, our weaknesses like the grains of sand on the shore, but Your love encompasses all things and makes all things new. Let our lives be a witness to the power of Your Sacred Heart as it fills our souls with the fire of its Love. Let all of heaven sing out in a loud voice, “Love is loved by those whose tiny spark has become one flame with the unlimited fire of His Sacred Heart.”

Editor’s note: This article is from a chapter in Mother Angelica on Christ and Our Ladywhich is available through Sophia Institute Press

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Mother Angelica (1923-2016) was a Franciscan nun and founder of Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). She remains one of the most popular figures and personalities on Catholic television as well as a powerful witness for Christ.

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