Fill your Heart with Faces and Names!
“Every human being is the object of God’s infinite tenderness, and God himself is present in their lives. Appearances notwithstanding, every person is immensely holy and deserves our love. If I can help at least one person to have a better life, that justifies the offering of my life. We achieve fulfillment when we break down walls and our heart is filled with faces and names!”
Pope Francis (from Evangelii Gaudium, Joy of the Gospel)
A funny image came to my mind when I read this, anticipating Valentine’s Day which also begins Lent this year (Ash Wednesday.) A heart-shaped box of candy popped into my head, but instead of candy inside, it was filled with heart-faces, and each had a name on the other side, like those candy message hearts. This is so how I think of Pope Francis – always truly seeing people, and conscientious about being the living example of God’s love in the way he treats them.
This Lent I want to open my Valentine’s candy box and truly see God in many different faces, created in God’s image. Mindful of God’s ever-present love for all people, and the call to spread it, I look forward to opening my other heart-shaped box, and discovering all the many different flavors of how I can show God’s love to the faces I see – to make their life just a little bit better – to call them by name to show they are valued, and to scatter some “hearts” of love all around them. I think this sounds like a fun, yet daunting challenge. I will try to fill my heart with faces and names, and let God’s love spill out of me to sweeten their lives.
Loving God, thank you for coming to me in some very interesting images, to show me what is important.
Like this heart box filled with names and faces, using this common symbol of the Valentine season, you balance it with a Lenten call to offer my life for others, even in small life-giving ways.
Holy Spirit, inspire my efforts with creativity and action.
May I be a heart overflowing your love to others.