Blogger’s Note: This is the latest in a collection of daily posts outlining my journey to the Sacred Heart over the past year or more. See an overview and links to past posts here.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” — Matthew 7:13-14
The narrow way leads ever upward, and you follow as you can. Bare rock and brambles, clefts and washouts so steep and deep you turn sideways to pass or clamber out on all fours. Feet and fingers dirt-caked and bloody; knees rubbed raw, and muscles aching, you begin to imagine the weight of the wood.
The path that left the road was barely a path at all: a crooked parting in the thistles and brush, leading up to scrub oak and pines. Emerging at last above the trees, at intervals you glimpse the road below, broad and easy, winding downward into the cool shadows of the valley; you hear snatches of ribald song, bells, and laughter.
But that was hours ago—the temptation to join the carefree throng is long past. Beyond birdsong and brooksong, the air is thin and sharp as a blade in your lungs. As the sun drops, the urge now is not to turn back, but simply to cease.
Darkness falls. The stars wheel above, pinpricks of frost in the deep blue heavens. Shaking with cold, you will yourself—first one foot, then the other—forward. Cracked lips gasp; parched lungs thirst for—
—a splash of water, quick and cool, between the toes, a rivulet among the rocks, gleaming silver in the starlight. You fall on all fours and soothe your lips on the hard, wet stone. Rising, you follow the trickle to its source: a gash between ribs of rock laid layer by layer from eternity. In the cold black of night the cave seems to glow with a faint warm light—a mirage perhaps, but it promises shelter and rest. With the last of your strength, you pull yourself up and in.
Peace and sweet slumber. You wake bone-tired but rested beside a strange stream of clear water mingled with ribbons of red. Outside it is night, still or again. You rise and stretch. Deeper in the narrow cavern a golden light beckons. You follow the light upstream.
Warmer with each step, you hear the crackle of a fire, and your pace quickens. The light is more intense now, from just around a bend in the cave. The strange stream in lined with green and growing things: nameless trees laden with fruit, even underground, and wondrous flowers deeply rooted in the rock.
The crackle has become a roar like a furnace, and the warmth is intense, personal, healing. Beyond the last bend, you see it: the source of the stream, the sound, the healing heat of love—the source of Life itself—an immense heart, burning, beating, bleeding; pierced and flowing, crowned with thorns as Christ crucified. The weight of the wood is gone from your shoulders, but your own heart is pierced and crushed as He; melted, molded and made new— no longer a heart of stone, but a soft and fleshy human heart like God’s own.
The Sacred Heart burns without consuming, flows without ceasing, a reservoir of blood and water shed for the world. Here, deep in His wounds, we find shelter, strength, and sustenance. Here we can learn to love and dwell in peace.
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee