The Way of the Heart
Pope Francis’ special prayer intention for the month of June is The Way of the Heart. He expands the theme by suggesting that we pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.
The site for the Apostleship of Prayer, entrusted with the ministry of joining with the Pope in prayer, offers an excerpt from Pope Francis. He was not speaking of the time of the pandemic, but his words are appropriate for these strange and incredibly sad days.
“At times of sadness, suffering and sickness, amid the anguish of persecution and grief, everyone looks for a word of consolation. We sense a powerful need for someone to be close and feel compassion for us. We experience what it means to be disoriented, confused, more heartsick than we ever thought possible.
We look around us with uncertainty, trying to see if we can find someone who really understands our pain. Our mind is full of questions but answers do not come. Reason by itself is not capable of making sense of our deepest feelings, appreciating the grief we experience and providing the answers we are looking for.
At times like these, more than ever do we need the reasons of the heart, which alone can help us understand the mystery which embraces our loneliness.
How much sadness we see in so many faces all around us! How many tears are shed every second in our world; each is different but together they form, as it were, an ocean of desolation that cries out for mercy, compassion and consolation.
The bitterest tears are those caused by human evil: the tears of those who have seen a loved one violently torn from them; the tears of grandparents, mothers and fathers, children; eyes that keep staring at the sunset and find it hard to see the dawn of a new day. We need the mercy, the consolation that comes from the Lord.
All of us need it. This is our poverty but also our grandeur: to plead for the consolation of God, who in his tenderness comes to wipe the tears from our eyes.
In the moment of confusion, dismay and tears, Christ’s heart turned in prayer to the Father. Prayer is the true medicine for our suffering. In prayer, we too can feel God’s presence. The tenderness of his gaze comforts us; the power of his word supports us and gives us hope. “
The month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart. This is partly because the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus most often takes place in June. Benedict XVI urged Catholics to renew their devotion to the Sacred Heart. He explained that the Sacred Heart is a symbol of the Christian faith that is especially dear to ordinary people as well as to mystics and theologians.
“It expresses the good news of love in a simple and authentic way, encapsulating the mystery of Incarnation and Redemption. … From the boundless horizon of his love, God entered the limitations of history and of the human condition..”