I have been meditating on my post, “For love of God, willingly bear exile of heart.” Thomas a Kempis describes with this one phrase, “exile of heart” the terrible ache of the heart. We learn from our beloved Archbishop Martinez that it is in such sharp sorrow and exile of heart that our love is purified. https://soulfoodministries.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/for-love-of-god-willingly-bear-exile-of-heart-thomas-a-kempis/
Today, I began to focus on the exile of heart which Jesus experienced throughout His entire life—beginning with the Incarnation, according to Ven. Conchita. In her diary, she reports that Jesus told her:
“I wish that above all, there be honored the interior sufferings of My Heart, sufferings undergone from My Incarnation to the Cross and which are mystically prolonged in My Eucharist. These sufferings are still unsuspected by the world. Nonetheless I declare to you that, from the first moment of my Incarnation, the Cross already planted in My Heart, overburdened Me and the thorns penetrated it.”
As vicious as were the physical assaults on His sacred person, as stupendous the level of pain and suffering, it cannot be only the physical sufferings to which He refers, but to the mental and emotional pain as well. The Divine Word was always united, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit throughout His human life, but the manhood of Christ also knew from the beginning of His human existence, exile of heart, the unbearable ache, the torturing thirst, the loneliness of being alone in the fullness of His love and longing for the Father and for us, His bride. Mary, His mother, could empathize, could begin to appreciate the sensitive longing of her son, but could never truly fathom His loneliness in love. This aching longing, this unquenchable thirst would cry out in the end of His life: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?”
To enter deeply the journey into union is to face unrelieved loneliness in love. On a human level, we can share, laugh, enjoy companionship, but in our heart of hearts, no one can enter—can begin to appreciate, assume, or grasp the height, the depth, the width of the soul thirsting for union because to thirst for union with the Beloved is to long for the unfathomable God. Such a thirst plummets to depths beyond human reach, such a sorrow is bottomless, as unfathomable as the God in Whom the soul has lost itself. How intense the loneliness in the heart of Jesus in His constant stretch to bridge the chasm between Himself as man—between us and the Father.
When as a 12 year old, Jesus disappeared for three days and was found in the temple, I cannot help but feel that He was struggling to be in a place where He could feel closer to His Father—He was lonely in love. The doctors and teachers could not begin to fathom His young thirsting Heart.
As he entered His ministry, imagine His suffering when even those closest to Him continually misinterpreted what He was about, failing to understand His mission. When He went off by Himself to pray, don’t imagine that He spent the long hours in ecstasy, but in darkness, in longing, in the exile of His Heart. How He longed to cast His fire, and how He wept when Jerusalem would not be gathered in the folds of His loving arms.
Jesus endured for many years a martyrdom of desire, a martyrdom which He began to quench, finally, in His physical passion, which for Him was a relief from the inner martyrdom. Only the Cross and His crucifixion could salve such a thirst.
When Thomas a Kempis tells us, “Willingly bear exile of heart,” he renders to us the greatest compliment and hope—it is only with the dearest beloved of His Heart, His bride, that the God-man shares His thirst, His loneliness in love, the exile of His Heart in the journey to Union with the Trinity.