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The Sacred Heart in the clouds

The Sacred Heart in the clouds

ONCE upon a time, a 5-year-old girl was looking out the window watching cloud formations. Cloud-watching was a game her mother had taught her earlier on. Their house, situated on the highest point of the street, afforded them a good view of the town and the city beyond, and, of course, of the huge expanse of the skies above. Mother and daughter would—on late afternoons before sunset—scan the skies for cloud formations that resembled creatures on earth. Her mother would say, “Look for an elephant!” and the little girl who had never been to a zoo would look for the animal as she had seen it in a coloring book. Happy that the girl would quickly find the elephant, the mother would snap, “Very good! Now, look for the bear!” and the little girl would find it fast, too, for she had seen a bear in the flash cards of her teacher-aunt.

Now, that particular afternoon she was cloud-watching alone, the clouds were sparse and the sky was a beautiful blue. There were no “animals” but still, the little girl saw in it a sea, as the clouds looked like foamy waves coming up the shore. She hoped, though, that clouds would thicken and swell so that even a few rabbits would appear, but they did not. Her eyes were getting tired and her eyelids heavy from the long wait, but the little girl did not give up. Then, she noticed images slowly forming from nothing and then moving in the blue sky, as though a movie was playing before her. One of two images was herself, the five-year old girl, wearing a long white tunic, sitting on the lap of Jesus, playing with His beard!

The little girl could identify Jesus from the many “stampitas” her grandmother kept as markers in her bible, and from the calendars from the lumber store tacked ubiquitously on the walls of their house. This Jesus moving in the sky was the one whose heart was exposed, but his heart was as big as a dinner plate, and the little girl was playfully poking it with her finger. She noticed that it felt and looked like a giant pin cushion, being soft and made of red satin.

“Why is your heart very big?” she asked Jesus. Came His reply, “Because it has to have room for everyone.” The little girl, still touching and exploring Jesus’ heart, remarked, “It is very soft…like a pillow”. Then, Jesus hugged her tight and she hugged Him, too, while complaining that he was too big for her arms to hug tight.

When Jesus let go, the little girl noticed that her own heart was outside of her chest, too, just like His pin-cushion heart, though not as big. She was surprised, however, that hers was bleeding although she felt no pain. Jesus read her mind and said, “When you hugged me, your heart was pressed against mine and got wounded by the thorns around my heart.”

The little girl looked at Jesus’ heart which was no longer a big pin cushion but already a real heart outside of his chest, ringed with thorns and bleeding, like the one in “stampitas” and calendars. She glanced at her heart, too, and noticed that the blood was coming from two little wounds, but still she felt no pain. A smiling Jesus continued, “Now you see why you are wounded but you do not feel the pain because I am the one bearing all the pain— because I love you.”

The images slowly faded away and the little girl’s attention returned to her cloud-watching. Did she fall asleep, she wondered, for what transpired was similar to dreaming. No, she was merely watching, and in fact she noticed that everything seemed to happen in a wink, because the clouds that looked like foamy waves had not shifted at all! But the little girl had no doubt that the movie-like story she saw was real, not a dream. However, she did not feel an urge to tell anyone about it.

Many many many years later, when the little girl had grown into a woman who was to go through trials and tribulations in life, this particular cloud-watching episode would worm its way into her consciousness. She would come to realize that it was the Sacred Heart of Jesus she met in the clouds. Just as the heart has its own memory, it also has its own reason beyond reason, and now, the woman whose heart as a little girl received two wounds from the thorns around His Heart knows and believes: Jesus is wounded by the errors of both those who claim or even vow to love Him, and those who mock and spurn Him.

Knowing His heart is wounded causes her heart to bleed, too, but now she would feel His pain as well, but instead of crippling her in her efforts to love others, she would remember the huge heart of Jesus she saw in her cloud-watching—the tender heart the size of a dinner plate. Jesus asks that her heart have room for everyone, too, to love sinners and saints alike. Because in her heart that cloud-watching child is still very much alive, she does as He says, grateful for the lesson she was taught in the clouds. And that’s the truth.