Sunday, December 2, 2012

Affairs of the Heart

I am very happy to welcome Genevieve Kineke to "Catholic Moms Talk" today. Genevieve is a wife, mother of five, and convert to the faith. Her latest book is Set Free: The Authentic Catholic Woman's Guide to Forgiveness (Servant Books). She can be found online at

“Affairs of the Heart”

There is a common question that asks if there are more stars in the sky or grains of sand on the earth. Such distractions can be amusing, not only for the sake of comparisons, but also to remind us of the vastness of the universe. Our Lord is immense, indeed.*

While God is creator of those things too big to contemplate, he is also the one who counts the hairs on our confused heads, showing that he is also the master of every detail (cf. Luke 12:7). From galaxies to dust particles, he has it all in hand. But what is that to a busy mother?

I recently came across a detail that leapt out at me—a minute element of life that we can all understand in a portion of the private revelation Jesus gave to Saint Faustina:

“Tell sinners that I am always waiting for them, that I listen intently to the beating of their heart… When will it beat for Me?” (Diary, 1728). 

Heartbeats! Now we've delved into a woman's world—the universe of love and affection, of mood and inclination. While the number of hairs on our heads is academic—quite superfluous to our vocation—the pulse of those around us is the very thing we monitor in various ways.

Surely, we know who once made our hearts leap, and perhaps we've been privileged to make a life with them at our side. Our children often bring about those pitty-pats of joy and delight as well. But there are other jolts that are more ominous—an unexpected email, a phone call relating a medical emergency, or the face of a friend that signals crisis. 

What brings this reflection together, though, is the arrival of Advent which has a life of its own—a life that is wrapped in memories, family events, and acts of piety. There are the meals, the gifts, the cards, the gatherings. There are the pageants and the concerts, the plays and the recitals, and amidst it all we pray. We internalize all of these dutiful actions scattered along the path to Christmas, and see our participation in each as an extension of our love for others.

But when we make this journey towards the Crib, what does Our Lord read in our heartbeats? Do we realize that he is close enough to monitor our very pulse from second to second? In assessing our calm (or anxiety!) he knows what our priorities are. He senses our anticipation, our frustration, even the occasional wave of dread—but over what? Is the elevated pressure a measure of our longing for Christ, or a response to the peer pressure to keep up appearances? When our hearts skip a beat, is it over neglecting Christ, or due to impending responsibilities? Do we fuss about mundane details or about those occasions that reveal our lack of love? Does our heart race for him and his intentions, or merely concerning the frivolities of our own making? 

Picture, if you will, the unborn Lord living beneath the heart of Mary, which beat steadily in confidence and love. Her priorities were his, her anxiety felt only on his behalf, her anticipation lay in embracing him alone. Their hearts beat in unison, the Immaculate one depending on that which was Sacred, hers having been spared by the piercing of his. 

Follow your heart, in the coming weeks, but not in the worldly sense. Attend to what agitates it, what excites it, and what it fears—so that you'll know what Christ already knows. There is so much that we do that is oriented toward him and his splendid nativity, but not all. That which still tarries in the world must be laid at his feet so that it can be purified. When your heart finally beats for him, you will truly be his—and all will be well. 

Mrs. Kineke is a married mother of five. She can be found on-line at

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