I’m now many years past seven. I no longer envision a white oval, shining like a pearl. I do, however, marvel at the truth embedded in this simple childhood picture. “Here I stand, knocking at the door. If anyone hears Me calling and opens the door, I will enter his house and have supper with Him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)
“Anyone who loves Me will be true to My word, and My Father will love him; We will come to him and make our dwelling place with him.” (John 14:22)
What an astonishing reality. There really IS a dwelling place inside me, set aside for God Himself. A cloister of the heart, a sanctuary. And it’s not a refuge for me alone.
In the days when He walked the earth, Jesus found places of refuge. Certainly He was in need of them, as He was hunted down, mocked, misunderstood, beaten, spat upon, and finally killed. He found refuge in a womb, a manger, the arms of Mary and Joseph, with friends, and in a little house in Bethany. In such places Jesus was cared about and loved.
As we know, misunderstanding of Jesus did not cease with His crucifixion. The world has never, as a whole, reached out to embrace Christ and His teachings. He is still “spat upon.” He’s discounted, laughed at, shunned in various ways – often before our eyes. I may hear Him mocked this very day.. or dismissed as unimportant. I might hear His Name used as a swear word.
If that happens, can I remember to take a moment to offer a prayer of praise and love to Him in the solitude of my heart?
“A cloistered heart accepts God’s grace to love Jesus Christ in the midst of a world that does not love Him; to embrace His will in a world which does not embrace it. Thus the cloistered heart becomes a place of refuge not only for us, but for Christ Himself. To create such a refuge is a primary part of the cloistered heart’s apostolate.” (from The Cloistered Heart (book), NS)
“Jesus, here is my heart; let it be a little cozy resting place for yourself.” (St. Faustina)
“Make my soul…Your cherished dwelling place, Your home of rest. Let me never leave You there alone, but keep me there all absorbed in You, in living faith, adoring You.” (Elizabeth of the Trinity)
May we take every opportunity to embrace Christ in the refuge of our hearts – today.