“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:19).
Brokenhearted. I feel confident that we have all used that word to describe ourselves at some point in our lives.
Perhaps nothing is more human than experiencing heartbreak. Do we realize that Jesus, while fully divine and fully human, experienced heartbreak in His humanity as well? All of the disappointment, loss, betrayal, shame (and the list goes on and on) that we feel, He also felt, without sinning of course. Both the First Reading and the Gospel for today show how Jesus was misunderstood, scorned, and hated. Add to that His agonizing Passion and death, His physical heart pierced while He hung from the Cross, and I’d say yes, Our Lord knows what it is to be brokenhearted.
It can bring great comfort to know that Jesus sees our broken hearts. He knows how we feel, and He gladly suffers with us. But do we ever think to suffer with Him?
When suffering comes we can do two things. We can sit in our suffering and be miserable, or we can unite our suffering with Christ’s and have Him redeem it, transforming it into grace for us, for the Church, and for the whole world. Our pain and heartache may not go away, but our suffering takes on new meaning when we offer it to Jesus.
The season of Lent is the perfect time to practice this kind of suffering when we are focusing intently on the suffering of Christ. Our Lord is near, bending low, broken and bruised for love of us. Let us offer our broken hearts to Him, and stretch out our hands to receive His grace.
An article by our Theological Editor goes deeper into unitive suffering.
Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, and convert to the Catholic Faith. She is a classically trained pianist who, after teaching for ten years now stays home with her three young children. but still manages to flex her creative muscles through writing, knitting, and gardening. She is proud to call Saint Paul home and loves everything about living in Minnesota, except for winter. You can find out more about her here.