Given the choice between feeling very hot or very cold, I will choose the stifling heat any day. The end of Summer in the South is made up of scorching, 100-degree days, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The heat reminds me of my youth – hot summer days as a child, playing baseball until the sun set and five-mile midday runs around the lake in college, feeling refreshed and energized upon returning home. The summer heat also reminds me of comfort – of God’s loving protection and care. Feeling the heat bearing down evokes the sensation of being surrounded and engulfed with his powerful radiance and love, like being wrapped in a thick blanket. For me, warmth equals love, and so I say farewell to Summer with a hint of sadness.
The Melting of Our Hearts
One of the religious sites we visited this week for my daughter’s high school theology field trip was a Greek Orthodox church. The tour guide gave an excellent explanation for the symbolism of the many icons and artifacts within the structure. Before entering the nave, or the temple proper, the congregation prepares for prayer and worship by lighting a candle and venerating an icon in the narthex, or vestibule. Our guide remarked that a candle is hard and cold until the warmth of the flame softens and melts it. I love this imagery of the melting candle wax, which reminds me of the melting and molding of our souls when we come into contact with the Living God. Personally, I have experienced this softening of the heart and enlightenment most often when receiving Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, or when adoring Him in the Blessed Sacrament.
Divine Radiation Therapy
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has been referred to as “Divine Radiation Therapy” for our souls. Wounded by sin and in need of a heavenly Physician, we kneel before the monstrance and receive the warm rays of his love and mercy, which touch us in our innermost being, heal us, and restore us. St. Bernadette Soubirous speaks of the healing power of Adoration as such:”The Eucharist bathes the tormented soul in light and love. Then the soul appreciates these words, ‘Come all you who are sick, I will restore your health.‘”
Our pastor, Fr. Patrick Driscoll, lead the grade school students in First Friday Adoration today in our Church. It was moving to see the children united in prayer and worship of Christ in the Eucharist, singing the Tantum Ergo with angelic voices and reverently reciting the Divine Praises. Although the air conditioning in our church is always exceeding expectations and requires some to don a sweater even in summer, one can almost feel the warmth emitting from the Sacred Host. It is the restorative power of Jesus, alive and truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
Healing of God’s Love
Heat can be used for healing in many ways. Heat lamps treat skin conditions and other ailments. There are many occasions when a heating pad is used to apply warmth to aid in pain relief and healing of sore muscles and joints. Similarly, the warmth of God’s love soothes and revives our tired and weary souls. He relieves our sadness and pain and brings joy to our hard and injured hearts.
His Burning Heart
Jesus’ Heart is often depicted with flames emitting from it, symbolizing his burning love for each one of us. He love us as his own and loves each of us as if we were the only person on earth. His Sacred Heart burns with love for us like a hot summer day; do we also burn with love for him?
(Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay)