“I just can’t sense Jesus. I cannot feel Him close to me. I don’t sense…
This I know to be true: Jesus desires a relationship with me even more than I desire one with Him. St. John of the Cross tells us that if a soul is seeking the Beloved, He is seeking her even more. And the Bride of The Song of Songs exclaims in wonder, “I am my Beloved’s and His desire is for me.”
If I know it to be true that Jesus longs for an intimate, personal, even spousal, relationship with me then I can also be sure that He desires conversation with me. The foundation of all relationships is frequent honest communication; speaking and listening heart to heart. My relationship with my Divine Bridegroom must be no different than any of my other relationships. In fact, I realize now that how Jesus and I communicate, (speaking, listening, and sitting together in silence) needs to be the model for how I communicate with everyone.
Before my prayer could grow into an intimate dialogue of heart speaking to heart, I needed to truly believe that I was safe to share all my thoughts, emotions, desires, and fears. So many of my experiences with sharing my heart with others had not been safe and had broken my heart again and again. Jesus proved Himself to be a patient and gentle friend. He slowly and tenderly showed me how He longs for me to talk to Him about every detail of my life including my inner self-talk and painful emotions. He even patiently listened to me express my anger and frustrations, to tell Him that I didn’t understand Him, that I didn’t trust Him or that I was afraid of Him. This surprised me! I had not encountered such loving acceptance of my emotions, especially ones like anger, distrust, and fear.
How powerful it was to see that Jesus did not flinch, did not lash out at me, did not turn His loving gaze from me even when I kicked and screamed like a child throwing an angry tantrum! I don’t know exactly when it happened, but eventually I learned that of course Jesus knew all along, before I had the self-awareness, that I was angry, confused and afraid to trust Him. He was waiting for me to tell Him. Being my Lord and Divine Therapist, He knew part of my healing process, the beginning of restoring trust, was being able to express all my difficult emotions and to say, “Jesus, I am afraid to trust You!”. Jesus knew I needed to give voice to my fears so He could have the opportunity to show me I have nothing to fear. Once I took this risk, He delighted in the chance to prove His trustworthiness, steadfastness, and patience!
My spiritual director encouraged me to begin keeping a journal of my heart to heart conversations with Jesus. I am so grateful for his wisdom! My journals have become my own eyewitness account of the workings of Jesus in my life and my heart. When fears, doubts, and hopelessness led to feeling abandoned I searched my journals and recent memories to find evidence of how Jesus had been with me, caring for me, in other similar moments or situations. Then I began to wonder, “If Jesus has been right here with me, working all things for good in the present then was He with me even before? Was He with me in those moments and times of utter darkness… even in my childhood?
I had a new prayer, new conversation starters with my Lord. “Jesus, please show me where You were when…” and “Jesus, please help me see how You have used that tragedy or that time of suffering for good.” And He did!
And I wrote Jesus into the stories of my life. As I remembered my history with a new main character, Jesus Himself, all my memories, even the traumatic ones, were sanctified. And I found anchor moment after anchor moment to hold onto, to write on my heart, and firmly plant in my mind.
When darkness comes again, as it surely will in this earthly life, and fears leave me questioning, “Has my Lord forsaken me?”, I will only have to recall any of these memories to know the answer…
My God never has and never will abandon me. Remembering the unfailing love and trustworthiness of Jesus, my Bridegroom, gives me the confidence to meet His gaze with open hands, and wholeheartedly say, “My Jesus, I trust in You. May Your will be done in and through me!”
A closing prayer: Dear Jesus, I know you desire frequent and honest communication with me because You love me. Increase my faith and my trust in Your love for me so that I might truly believe that my heart is safe with You. Teach me, Lord, how to speak, to listen, and to sit in silence with You so we might speak intimately and freely… Heart to heart.
Copyright 2022 Laura Ercolino