Friday, March 5, 2010
Heart of My Heart
For quite awhile now, during my prayer after receiving the Eucharist, I've found myself repeating: "Heart of my heart, soul of my soul." in addition to my Anima Christi. Sometimes it continues: "life of my life, love of my love, etc." I figured that I had taken this from some poem or song I heard, which I had associated with receiving Christ, and thus is repeated in my mind continually. It occurred to me today to google this phrase and see if I could find its origin, and although I found the phrase in several places, I could not remember hearing any of the accompanying poetry or lyrics. Doubtless I heard it somewhere, but the apparent obscurity of this quote has caused me to consider what it means to me.
When we receive Jesus, He comes into us and, if our hearts are open to receiving Him, united with us. Indeed, the Divine Lover desires always to be with His loved one, just as one who loves Christ longs to be with Him. This bond surpasses material reasoning and forms that bond which rightly causes St. Paul to say "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." Many of the saints have recognized this union and in their lives we can see that they have utilized it by giving themselves, their hearts, their wills, their minds, their souls to Christ and receiving Him in return. For instance, one saint (St. Therese?) begged God to take her free will from her and replace it with His own Divine Will. St. Catherine gave her heart to Christ and asked that He replace it with His own. Other saints have acted in a similar manner.
So when I say "heart of my heart, soul of my soul" what do I mean? This seems to be something one would say to her child... to one who has been conceived... A child is physically within the mother, and is formed from the substances of her womb, and the child lives there. This seems like the most intimate earthly union that there is, and in a way one can apply this to two lovers. They were two, but are now one with each other in matrimony and, in a sense, bear the same heart and soul and life. When Jesus said "blessed is the woman who conceives and bears the Word of God." He was not speaking of Mary. He was speaking of those who would receive Christ in pure and open hearts and allow Him to live in them and to grow and give light through them. Is there any more beautiful union than this?
When a mother looks at her child, she feels a great sense of maternal love for the fruit of her womb that signifies the strongest kind of love there is. Likewise the Creator-created love is a powerful love. Jesus loves us with this powerful love, and when we accept this love the fire of love that He gives us burns within us and we reflect it back to Him. Therefore the words "heart of my heart, soul of my soul, life of my life, love of my love..." exemplify a very perfect oneness, a unity, a love that is so deep that both lovers surrender to becoming one with the other. This puts me in mind of the Trinity... three, united in one deep love. This is the gift of the Eucharist, and this is the gift of espousal with Christ. It is one I desire like no other... to be all His, and for Him to be all mine. I long for the light of my soul to be pure, so that when the light of Christ shines over it, there are no longer two lights, but only one.