Love is Strong as Death
Today we celebrate the feast of our foundress--Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat! Happy Feast!
I'm stuck on the first rite of the mass (the introductory verse that we usually skip):
"Set me like a seal on your heart, like a seal on your arm, for love is strong as death." (Cant. 8:6)
Love is strong as death. Over the past several months, I've been pondering how love can conquer our fears, that my fears are eased when I remember the love of Jesus. What do I have to be afraid of when I am filled with God's love--a love that is far stronger than all else!
And yet, I do have fears. We all do. Fears of failure, of disappointment, of loss, and of death, to name a few. One of the most beautiful things about the Society of the Sacred Heart for me is the element of love. Sophie founded a community of women who are devoted to sharing God's love with all they meet. Women who help every person they encounter to know that they are loved. It sounds sort of lofty, that goal, but I think I entered the Society in part because I saw it in action: I felt loved by the sisters I met. I felt God's love in their love for me.
My fears are still there, but somehow the challenges of life seem less overwhelming when I know that I am not alone, that I am loved, that Jesus is with me through it all.
On another note, I share the picture above because I think it is so lovely! This is a window in the Sacred Heart School in Chicago (Sheridan Road) in honor of Sophie. Sophie grew up on her family's vineyards in Joigny, France. She loved to be with her father in the vineyards, and the image of the vine and branches became one of her favorites. In fact, the gospel for the feast is John 15:1-12:
"I am the vine and you are the branches. ... As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. ... This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you."
May we grow ever more aware of God's love for us
and the presence of Jesus in our hearts.
May we be able to share more fully the love of Jesus
with those we meet, a love that casts out fear.