Resting In God's Heart
The holy Gospel relates that after the apostles first went out on their apostolic mission, Jesus said to them: “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while” (Mk 6:31). The Gospel tells us nothing of how they took that rest, but we can easily conjecture what peace, love, and happiness that secret, intimate retreat with Jesus must have held for them.
On some occasions in life, God approaches the soul and speaks similar words, inviting it with immense tenderness to rest sweetly within his divine heart and—dare I say it?—asking it to allow him to rest in it.
Heaven is complete rest in God, because earth is always a place of labor, vicissitudes, and sorrow. The soul sighs to be freed from the anxieties of this life, as Saint Paul desired: “… [M]y desire is to depart and be with Christ” (Phil 1:23). But God, the divine friend, is pleased to grant to souls that love him an experience of beatitude on this earth, in the heaven of his heart—is not that incomparable heart a heaven?—by inviting them to the repose of purity, love, and peace within himself.
Our poor heart longs for that rest because we are born for heaven. The work, pain, and sufferings of this world do not constitute the definitive atmosphere of our soul. Our atmosphere is rest in God and it is formed by those divine elements of which I have spoken: light, purity, love, and peace.
The divine oasis of the Sacred Heart, that secret and entrancing heaven, is opened up to the chosen soul who will find an indescribable repose within it. Let the soul hasten to cast its cares and worries into the flames of Christ’s heart, to be totally consumed. Trustful and happy, let it enter into the place of repose to dwell in holy abundance, transported with life and with love. At the same time, the individual must forget earthly things in order to be content with Jesus only, to bask in the splendor of the heart that loves so much, and to be filled with the holy fire, the heavenly tenderness and the immortal life enclosed in that divine vessel.
The soul that would rest in God must dwell in self-forgetfulness and surrender. The forgetfulness of love! The surrender of love! Is it not love, possibly, that is forgotten and abandoned? In order to love, one must forget everything and center one’s gaze, heart, and life upon the Beloved.
The heart of Jesus is an unfathomable abyss of love. “God is love,” said Saint John (1 Jn 4:16). Blessed Angela of Foligno relates that on one occasion God said to her: “Look at me well. Is there anything in me that is not love?” All in him is love, an inexhaustible, unique, eternal love. On account of our slight experience with love, we see only faintly that it is noble and heavenly, that it fulfills our aspirations and seals our happiness. But on earth love is limited because mere creatures cannot contain the infinite. If we wish to drink that heavenly draught in human hearts, sooner or later we drain all that earth’s fragile, limited chalices contain of it. Our thirst is never satisfied, because our capacity and our desires are infinite—our only infinite possession.The only fountain of love that is never exhausted is God, and that fountain is in the divine heart of Jesus. We can drink eternally from it without ever emptying it, because our soul’s capacity makes our thirst for love infinite. The fountain of love in Jesus’s heart is infinite, because it springs from the divine fullness. “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it,” says the Scripture (Ps 81:10). Open your mouth, the mouth of desire with which you drink love; open it wide and I shall fill it. Blessed are the souls who dwell in the interior of Jesus’s heart! They will always drink from that sweet fountain without ever exhausting it.
An inexhaustible love! Who understands this mystery of happiness? Everything on earth runs out: joy and sorrow, fecundity and life itself. All created things, however beautiful, however perfect, have a limit, a measure, an end. We are so accustomed to finish things and use them up that we do not comprehend the mystery of an inexhaustible love. In its endless desire for love, our heart glimpses infinite love as one dimly glimpses the vast firmament when the spirit wanders from star to star in the immensity of the night.
—Excerpts from Only Jesus, pp. 219–220, 179–180
Martinez, L. (2011). Secrets of the Spirit: Wisdom from Luis Martinez. (G. Santos, Ed.) (pp. 35–38). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.