For months now, I have been contemplating heartbreak. I’m not just thinking of the romantic kind, though we all have our stories, but rather, much more broadly, because if you look around and really pay attention—try to really look into people’s hearts—it is everywhere, embedded in our common humanity: the heartbreak we experience when others don’t live up to our expectations; when someone trusted lets you down; when you work tirelessly for a goal, only to fail; when you lose someone unexpectedly, and you can’t quite let go; when change seems inevitable, but your choices, limited; the heartbreak of our ego, recognizing our limitations, as we mess up again and again. There is a saying that when a heart breaks, the cracks are what allows light to shine through our hopelessness. It is through these cracks, through our brokenness, that we come to understand how much we need God.
Today’s readings are some of God’s answers to heartbreak. In the first reading, we are reminded that God’s loving mercy goes beyond our surface and takes the time to see what is inside our hearts, to recognize our goodness. I wonder how much of our heartbreak could be prevented if we tried to do this with one another? The second reading points to the light of God in our midst. God shines a light on goodness and justice and truth, and we are reminded to live in the light of Christ—to do what is good and just and true. Even as we are broken, if we make an effort to live in the light, we will eventually feel the light shining through us, pulling us out of our isolating darkness. The Gospel reading from John is further insight into Jesus’ desire for us to know Him and see Him. If we acknowledge our blindness, we realize our need for God and can more easily recognize God’s work in our lives. Our humility is necessary for our healing.
Perhaps it is only when we recognize and allow God into our darkness, to shine light through our brokenness, to reveal the goodness in our hearts and remind us to seek that same goodness in others, perhaps it is then that our broken hearts can actually transform the world. Let us hope.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Gracious God, help me always to remember the strength of Your light and love.
Heidi St. Peter, ’96, Assistant Director of Academic Support
First Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a
Second Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14
Gospel: John 9:1-41
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website