Tears of Joy from a Burning Heart

August 6, 2021
Archdiocese of Baltimore

This Summer I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the Institute of Priestly Formation held each summer at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. The IPF program gives the seminarians time to be with the Lord on a personal level and deepens their desire for prayer. During the second week of the program, I participated in an 8-day silent retreat, and I would like to share with you a journal entry that helped me have a deeper understanding of the love the Trinitarian God has for me and in turn how He makes my heart burn with a desire to be closer with Him. Earlier in the day when I met with my spiritual director, I was discussing how I understood God’s love for me in my mind but would like to have a deeper understanding in my heart. I told him that I have a problem expressing my feelings or letting feelings take hold in my heart. With this in mind, he suggested that I pray with 1 Corithians chapter 13.
Before entering the chapel to pray with that passage, I was led by the Lord to take a walk and say the Rosary. Because it was Monday, I meditated on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, which begin with the Annunciation. Following my Rosary, I entered the Chapel and asked Jesus to help me open the doors of my heart wider to him, to allow me to have a small taste in my heart of His love for me. After reading the 13th chapter of 1Corithians and spending some time in meditation verses 11-13 began to stand out to me.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

At the Incarnation, the Word became flesh; the Second Person of the Trinity became man. This of course was done through the Holy Spirit conceiving the Word inside of Mary. Think of the Love the Father has for Mary and Joseph, He is putting all of His Faith and Hope in Mary and Joseph. He is entrusting His Son to these two humans; the amount of Love God must have for them is unfathomable. Jesus wants to be born into my heart, how much Love, Faith, and Hope He has for me. Jesus desires to be with me in my brokenness, the Almighty Lord has faith and hope in me through His love for me. He desires to be with me and trusts me. This is beyond understanding, it is truly a mystery, but I know it to be true. It gives me chills and tears of joy just thinking about it. How can I not have a heart burning with a desire to love the Lord in return? Thank you, Lord, for all that you do for me and show me, words escape me and all I am left with are tears of joy.

James Lancelotta is in Second Theology at Saint Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore. His home parish is St. Joseph’s Monastery in Baltimore. Please God, James will be ordained to the diaconate in 2024 and to the priesthood in 2025. Please pray for James!