I recently had a friend remind me to “protect my heart.” It’s hard for me to do that—I like to wear my heart of my sleeve. I’m single, and I am all too willing to hand my heart away the minute I have a crush on someone. Today’s reading provides a blueprint for how to protect my heart, the same way God and His Angels protect the holy city of Jerusalem: by centering God in my heart and centering my heart in Him.
Jerusalem is in glory, the Lord is within the walls, but the city is surrounded with fire. (Zechariah 2:9) I need to let my Guardian Angel circle the bounds of my heart so God can encircle it with fire, to protect His Glory within it. The city isn’t hidden away, under the bushel. The city is ringed with fire! The city is shining, drawing people toward it and allowing them to see the glory of the Lord inside.
How can I treat my heart the same way? Fire draws a lot of attention, but the attention isn’t for the ends of attention by itself. That fire draws attention to the most important center—the glory of the Lord within.
Surrounding my heart with fire isn’t about fear or isolation, but rather that I detach myself from expectations, making room for vulnerability while also establishing boundaries for my relationships. All of this, too, is with the Lord at the center because He is the glory within my heart and should be the glory in all my relationships as well.
Don’t hide your heart away. But don’t give it away to people, either. Give your heart to God. Whether you are single, dating, or married, your heart shouldn’t be centered in humans or worldly concerns. Protect your heart by giving it wholly to the Lord.
Pray this novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus this fall. Ask Him to encircle your heart with His fire.
Brigid Hogan is a midwestern graduate student who finds peace in lakes, the Mass, and fiction when she isn’t ensconced in schoolwork. Find out more about her here.