Monday, January 27, 2014

Love in a Time of Brokenness

I talked to a woman on the phone recently who explained to me how her heart breaks for people—for people suffering knowingly or unknowingly, physically, emotionally, spiritually, for people alone and overly burdened, lost or hopeless, people addicted and helpless—and I believed her.  I believed her strongly, because her voice crawled through the telephone wire like a child through a dark tunnel uncertain whether or not she had to be brave.  She spoke with frustration as if, unruly, her breaking heart merely wished to afflict her, as though it were unfairly painful to her, but I don’t think it was.  So I said in response, “you know, it’s not a bad thing that your heart should break.  This is good.  There’s no need for resilience here; just let it break.”  I said it because I learned it. It was one of the biggest lessons my time in Nicaragua taught me.

I remember clearly rounding the first mountain pass out of Matagalpa in our white pick-up truck shifting gears in my frustration, recalling a teenage girl speak of how she was introduced to pornography at a young age and its ensuing effects.  I learned in that moment that the pain I felt—and didn’t like feeling—was a good pain.  God taught me that in the breaking of my heart other hearts would be healed, and indeed, that for certain hearts to heal mine would have to break.  And somehow on that road from Matagalpa I now loved that little girl not for the pain I felt but I loved her in the midst of that pain and despite the pain and that can be a powerful love.

Sometimes, I think, the Lord’s heart must have been in a constant state of “breaking”—certainly in an evident way at his Agony and in a literal way after his death on the cross.  His wounded heart is a great mystery and perhaps has meanings only accessible to angels and saints, but what we can affirm is that by its breaking—the tearing and rending of the Divine Man’s heart—our hearts might be healed.  So I say to those, like the woman who called, whose hearts know too well the sorrow of brokenness, don’t be afraid to just let them break, so that those whose hearts are too hard to break for themselves, may, by your merits, be healed.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Paterson, NJ
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