Feel with Jesus
Many years ago I had the opportunity to see a movie called “Immortal Beloved,” about the life of the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven. During the film, the viewer delights in the ineffable music of this genius while spectacular images and excellent actors present the interpretation of the director about the hidden sentiments of the composer from his childhood until his death.
As is common knowledge, Beethoven gradually lost his hearing until he was completely deaf. Some of his most brilliant symphonies were composed when he was already deaf, which makes his genius even greater.
During a scene in the film, Beethoven is seen, already deaf, shut away in his study for fear that others would notice his deafness, sitting at his grand piano, writing his music. As he was no longer capable of listening to the notes he played on the piano, he would lie completely across the piano, until his face was aligned with the box of the instrument, so that he could feel what he was trying to produce and discover, through the vibrations, if the sequence of his notes was what he wanted and correct.
That scene comes to mind frequently at the beginning of the eucharistic celebration when I bend to kiss the altar. In that moment I want to feel the vibrations of Christ’s heart in order to transmit them to all during the eucharistic celebration.
In the Gospel of St. John, we find a passage which narrates that John the Beloved Disciple rested his head over the heart of Christ. (see John 13:23) This occurred during the Last Supper when Jesus announced that one of his disciples would betray him.
Surely, John wished to listen to the intimate heartbeats of his beloved master in that grave moment and desired to be in tune with the vibrations of that divine heart.
If we want to reproduce the music of Jesus’ heart, we have to lay ourselves completely over his heart. By doing this, we will be capable of discovering if the notes it emits are sad or sorrowful upon contemplating a world with so much violence and division among humans. Reclining on his heart is also where we will be able to interpret the vibrations of joy that are evoked when he sees a man or woman practice forgiveness, fraternity, justice and peace.
It’s enough to watch the news or read the headlines to notice that the human heart is seriously affected by a mortal arrhythmia. We are not permitting the divine heart of Jesus to pump its healthy blood through the veins of humanity, in order to cleanse ourselves of any mundane infection, and to beat at the rhythm of the heart of our Immortal Beloved.
In the film, Beethoven is presented trying to make it to a crucial appointment with his beloved when a unforeseen incident impedes him and changes the course of his existence, causing him great sorrow and confusion.
Perhaps as we’ve rushed to meet our beloved, unexpected incidents (erroneous or late decisions believers call sins) have also impeded us from arriving at that longed-for meeting, creating in us a pained and fatigued arrhythmia of heart so different from the smooth and steady heartbeats of God, that make his blood flow full of life and with harmonious rhythm.
Ardent and simple hearts, like those of the mystic St. Margaret Mary Alaçoque or the Venerable Conchita Cabrera de Armida, have had the joyful privilege, like St. John, of reclining over the heart of the Immortal Beloved and have communicated to us through their writings the most intimate sentiments of that unfathomable heart that suffers and rejoices with each one of us, his beloved.
The Gospel of St. Luke narrates a moment when Jesus, upon seeing the strength and presence of his Father acting in the disciples who returned rejoicing, “rejoiced [in] the holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.’” (Luke 10:21)
The heart of Mary vibrates with the same loving rhythm of God, which is why she was never late for an appointment with the beloved. Let us ask her to intercede for us so that we may identify the loving notes of his heart in our lives above our arrhythmia or deafness. For him nothing is impossible, he only needs us to lean against his gentle heart.
Read the Spanish version of this column.
Northwest Catholic - April 2017
Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., is auxiliary bishop of Seattle and vicar for Hispanic ministry.
Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., es obispo auxiliar de Seattle y vicario para el ministerio hispano.Website: www.seattlearchdiocese.org/Archdiocese/auxiliaries.aspx