What is this mysterious work, my Father,
which you are doing in my heart
and in the hearts of your beloved children?

My heart has dilated so much
through the touch of your love, your tenderness,
through your gentle gaze which is ever fixed on me,
sheltering me without ceasing
in the cradling arms of your mercy.
My heart has dilated to receive them…
to see, to love, to reverence, and to hold
each person entrusted to me, my God,
on your behalf and in your name.

And I feel like this mystery is not my own,
but lies at the heart of the gift
entrusted to me for the sake of your Church,
the gift of intimate, loving friendship, and tender compassion:
a friendship offered in wholehearted accompaniment,
in the sheltering of the beloved’s vulnerability,
like a mother or father cradling a child
in the safety and security of their arms.

Indeed, this gift is like a womb,
a sacred space in which the thirsting heart,
wounded, broken, but unspeakably beautiful,
is seen and known, welcomed and sheltered,
as it most deeply desires,
and in this way allowed to reopen
to the vulnerability of love, full of trust…
indeed, in this way, reopened to encounter,
through the sacrament of human love and tenderness,
the tenderness of your own loving gaze
and the sheltering embrace of your mercy.

Thus the heart can learn to no longer hide,
ashamed and afraid in its nakedness,
but rather to open itself confidently to you,
letting you love and cherish, holding tenderly.
In this way the heart gets back in touch
with the inmost longing it bears deep within:
the longing for intimacy and communion,
for the union of hearts in the sacred space
where solitude encounters solitude,
and both are shared, united in a communion
which in its depth, its breadth, its constancy,
is possible only because it is sheltered
in the Sacred Heart of Christ.

This is what I yearn for, my God!
This is the burning thirst within my heart!
That they may know your love as I know it
—and yet each unique, unrepeatable!—
that they may experience your cherishing gaze
and the cradling arms of your tenderness,
ceaselessly sheltering…

And, my God, my Father,
I feel that you desire a little family
that will live this truth with their very existence,
an existence of tender love and intimate relationship,
creating a space in this world, a home,
where restless hearts can find rest
within the Home of the Church,
and, indeed, in the heart of the Trinity’s embrace,
drawing us into the space of unity
shared eternally by Father, Spirit, and Son,
and uniting us to one another
in the depth and sacredness of this space.

And from here, too,
finding rest in unity, and repose in belovedness
—drinking from the wellspring of love
made possible through your own love
flowing and alive in us—
to offer this rest to others, our brothers and sisters:
through the vibrant sacrament of human love,
through the vulnerable receptivity of our hearts
to shelter, like a womb nourishing and cradling,
the vulnerability of those whom you entrust to us.