Heart's ease - an infusion was said to help mend a broken heart

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A transformed and undefended heart

I have a bookmark with a prayer attributed to today's saint, Francis of Assisi: Give me a transformed and undefended heart. I don't know at what point of his life or how often Francis uttered this prayer, but there's no doubt that he got what he prayed for: he lived his transformation with great openness and vulnerability, and a searing honesty before God and others. Deeper and stronger than his love of creation was his love and total gift of himself to God, and desire to follow Jesus in an absolute radicality which stripped away all defences. And that, of course, is a large part of his attractiveness for us.

As a Religious of the Sacred Heart, called to the open, undefended Heart of Jesus, I naturally find Francis's prayer attractive. And yet, undefending my heart is tough. We often talk about allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and open, but I know just how many of my instincts leap in to protect, and to defend me from so much: from pain and loss; from being in any way wounded; from the radical demands of the Gospel; from being shaken out of my securities and comfort zone...

So today I ask Francis, that great, open-hearted lover of God, to help me make his prayer mine: Give me a transformed and undefended heart...

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