Have you ever stopped to think about where your thoughts go when you daydream? Perhaps there is a person, a place, or an idea that tends to pop up often in your head. Sometimes, our mind needs to digest the impressions we have received and work through everything happening in our lives. But when we have a quiet moment to relax, the direction of our thoughts often gives us a glimpse at what lies dormant deep within our hearts.
We can also wonder: Where did the Blessed Mother’s thoughts go when she daydreamed? What thoughts emerged from the depths of her heart? We read in Scripture that she often pondered and treasured things in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19). She pondered on the One to whom her heart belonged: her Son, the living God.
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Lk 12:34). Yes! Our heart shelters our deepest longings, wishes, questions, fears, and dreams.… Above all, it holds our entire ability to love. There, at the core of our personality, our deepest treasure lies hidden.
We are born of love and for love; for God himself is Love, and he has created us according to his image and likeness (cf. 1 Jn 4:8; Gen 1:26). As women, we share in the womanly dignity of the Mother of God, and in her feminine ability to love and to nourish life. Her pure, noble heart was made worthy of Christ so she could bear him into the world. He was the love of her life, and her heart remains his for all eternity.
How is it with us? Are we not also called to love? Indeed, God has placed within our womanly nature a great measure of his love. It belongs to our mission to mirror his love into the world. At the same time, each of us is called to reflect this love uniquely, and personally. Our personality and our personal ideal allow us to love and to be loved in an original way. Yet our personal calling in life also “stamps” our nature with a distinct capacity to love. We may be called to love others as a single person, devoted to the service of society through our profession and witness of faith. We may be called to love God through a spouse and children. We may also be called to love God through the consecrated life by surrendering ourselves radically to him and his kingdom.
How do we know where our treasure lies? How do we know where our heart is called to love? This question might seem overwhelming at times. We might have dozens of longings, aspirations, and opportunities, yet sometimes we search in the wrong places. One of the Church’s greatest saints, St. Augustine, teaches us a great lesson in this regard. He writes in his Confessions:
“You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.”
Even when we seek God in the wrong places, he comes to seek us – in fact, he is within us. He has placed the treasure of our vocation deep inside our hearts, and he alone can shine and dispel our blindness. He alone can grant us the grace to see our vocation with clarity. And he wants to do so.
If we long to receive this grace, Advent is the perfect time to open ourselves for it. Through the Advent liturgy, we hear, “Veni!” Come, Emmanuel, come. We long for the Redeemer of the world to come into our hearts. And he comes, but he comes in small, hidden ways. He comes as a newborn Child in the silence of a poor stable in Bethlehem. He doesn’t need a luxurious palace or a perfect atmosphere. He only needs our longing. He needs an empty heart, longing to be filled with love.
As we draw nearer to the coming of the Christ Child, let us open our hearts for grace and grow in the confidence that only a child can have. A child can believe in miracles. And what greater miracle can we hope for than the coming of God into our hearts so he can show us how we are to love?
Lord Jesus, king of my heart,
I am longing for you.
My heart is yearning for your love.
Help me to cleanse my heart of all that is not you;
break forth into my soul with the Father’s grace.
I want to love as you are calling me to love.
Let me be a child of one love:
a child whose thoughts, feelings, and wishes
belong to God alone.
Let my life be an answer of love to the Father’s plans.
Only then will I find fulfillment;
only then will my heart be able to channel the love I have received.
Come, Emmanuel, take shelter in my heart.
Show me the path I am to take
and give me the grace to love like you.