I'm looking at a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Behind Jesus is a cloudy sky and some trees. The Sacred Heart occupies perhaps two percent of the area of the picture. Yet when I first look at the picture, all I see is His heart with so much love radiating from it. As I gaze more closely, I am captivated by Jesus, His outstretched, nail-scarred hands, and His inviting pose. Eventually I notice the background, which occupies over half of the picture's area. Because the background is crafted so skillfully, it leads the eyes immediately to the Sacred Heart, setting the stage without stealing the show.
The background to the love of Jesus is His early years as a Refugee, His conflict-filled public ministry, the agony of the cross of Jesus. In short, the background of the glory of love is a long life of suffering. Because God has so skillfully crafted Jesus' life of suffering, Jesus' suffering leads us immediately to His love.
Is your life full of suffering, brokenness, misery, and failure? Do you feel that more than half your life has been wasted? (see Is 49:4) Are you longing for life, but only finding suffering? Jesus is the Master, and He is making a masterpiece out of your life. Could it be that Jesus has been spending all this time painting your background? When He gets the background right, He'll be ready to paint the glory and the love. Jesus often saves the best for last (see Jn 2:10). Allow the Lord to paint as He sees fit. When He's finished, there will be nothing left but total love (see 1 Cor 13:13). All your sufferings will only make the final masterpiece of your life shine more brightly with the touch of the Master's hand.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from June 1, 2006 through July 31, 2006.
†Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 12, 2005.