Sighs and Sacred Images
Do you want to pray, but have no time to do anything beyond simply glancing at an image of Our Lord, a holy card like the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus? If you think this is insufficient, then consider: is there no merit in simply glancing with love at an Image of Our Lord? To understand more, first remember that it was not necessary for Our Lord to shed His blood to save us, for a mere sigh of love for the Father would have had such charity, such purity and merit, that by it He could have saved all of mankind. His act of shedding His Blood was to give a witness to the profound depth of His love for man, to show the intensity of His love, to show how He will stop at nothing in order to save us, and will stop at nothing to reach us with His love.
Before we go further, a few questions: who are you? Are you not an adopted son of God? Of course you are. Is there no merit to your prayers? Of course there is. Are your prayers not pleasing to God? Of course they are! Thus, look upon Our Lord with love, and He will know your heart and help you. Is this not the goal of prayer, long and repeated prayers, even daily prayers – to conform your heart to the love of God? If your heart is relatively conformed to the love of God, though still imperfectly, can you not still look upon Him with love? You can, and you should, indeed you must, for He is God, your Life! Further, He is looking at you always, with that same love, though infinitely more intensely. He delights when we return the glance, with love.
In the spiritual life, though, when we allow a lag to emerge, and a time of silence between ourselves and God, the kind of silence where you are essentially absent from Him, it can happen that it is even difficult to let our eyes linger on an Image of Our Lord. This is important to consider. When we look upon Him after an absence, it is then as if it were a mere picture, a religious picture, an historical image, or simply a decoration. When we realize that this is what we are thinking, it disturbs us. Then, we return our glance to His Image, and we feel the slight awkwardness, knowing that we have been neglectful of our friendship with Him. At this point, we often do not know how to remedy the situation, how to turn this Stranger back into our Friend.
Here, we need humility and courage, and to appreciate the power of sacred images. Look again upon His Image. Pray. Know that He is happy to feel your glance, and has now forgotten your prior absence. Ask Him to rekindle your love for Him, to draw you back to Him, to stir your heart for Him, to…fall in love with Him. This is the power of grace, and something that we cannot do on our own.
So, when your friendship is rekindled, you will know the merit of a loving glance. Then, when you are burdened and have no time to pray, look upon Him with love, and simply say, “O, Lord.” That will be enough for the moment.