In Sinu Jesu: A Disciple close to the Heart of Jesus
"If you hunger for holiness, God will satisfy your longing good measure and flowing over."
- The Liturgy of the Hours
A cup flowing over. An everyday symbol of abundance and rejoicing.
This line has always struck a chord with me because it is a promise that if we want holiness, God will pour out his transforming love upon us in greater measure than we can imagine. Unfortunately, too often we try to earn His love. We think that if we are good enough or work hard enough, God will be pleased with us and everything will be as it should be. In doing so, we lose sight of the simple fact that God is our father.
He is certainly pleased by our effort to live virtuously, but we can't earn His love, because "He demonstrated his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (cf. Romans 5:8). He created us out of love for love, and even more, He sent His Son to redeem us from our turning away from His love.
During this Advent, I had been relearning this simple truth about our faith which I never seem to learn properly. We have to be continually reminded that God desires to fill us. He wants to give us great gifts. We need only to open our eyes to see them.
For this Advent, I resolved to practice my daily schedule and prayers with greater attention. I wanted to be more intentional about my actions like the sign of the cross or genuflecting, the words that I prayed, and to whom I prayed them.
To put it simply, my efforts failed. I didn't spend more time studying, get to the chapel earlier, exercise more consistently, or resist the temptation to snooze my alarm. It felt pretty bad, but as I was praying my rosary the other day, meditating on the joyful mysteries, I realized that Mary didn't earn the privilege of bearing Christ, rather she had received this gift already prepared ahead of time by her immaculate conception. God had given her everything! He created her without sin to be a fitting mother to His Son.
And here is where we get to the reason for this article's title: St. John. At the Last Supper, St. John was privileged to lean upon the Chest of Jesus (In Sinu Jesu), which shows the level of intimacy that He had with our Lord. John had spent much time listening to Jesus preaching, and probably stayed up late having heart to hearts. John had accompanied Jesus to the Glory of the transfiguration and to the sorrow of the garden. It was because of this special closeness that John, alone among the disciples, remained with Jesus at the foot of the Cross, and why Jesus, as He was dying, entrusted His mother to John.
It is a good thing to rest in God's love, and I want to encourage you to widen your capacity to receive His gifts. God can only fill us as much as we desire to receive Him. So let us open ourselves to His love! Accept the gift! Knowing that it is hard to increase our capacity because it requires us to stretch, it requires us to spend time with God in prayer, and it requires the Cross.
St. John knew the intimacy of our Lord. He had heart the sacred heartbeat of Christ. It was this intimacy that strengthened him to stand beneath the Cross and watch Jesus suffer. It was this experience of loss and pain on the cross that widened his capacity to receive the good news of the Resurrection and to preach that same Gospel to us.