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Love Language: Loving Big from the Cross

I often have wondered how a heart loves. Is it born with the desire? Does God program every heart to love? Why do some hearts love more than others?

When he was little, my youngest son would always tell me that he “loves me big!”

He would show his love for me by squeezing me as hard as he could- with eyes tightly closed and a firm furrowed brow. He would pretend he was out of breath from the enormous effort while smiling with delight and happily repeating his show of “big love” for me. I could live off those hugs for hours, always ready for more. I don’t get those type of hugs these days, but truth be told, I know I’m still “loved big”.

Although I know each of my children loves me very much, it is God’s love that sustains and truly awes me. He gave each of us a heart to learn to love as He loves.

Oh, it’s a “big love” indeed, and it is waiting to be poured into every open heart.

That’s the key…the heart must be OPEN. I often reflect on how to open my heart more to love more. What makes a heart open up?

For years I have prayed to Jesus to “make my heart like your heart,” not really realizing what that entails. You see, Jesus’s heart is so full of love, but it is also full of sorrow. I like the “love” part, but the “sorrow” part makes me uneasy.

It wasn’t until my heart was completely crushed and broken that I realized my heart was ready to be opened.

A heart that is broken and rejected is filled with incredible pain, and therefore, is very soft. It is vulnerable, weeping, and wounded. It is not hard, resistant, and firm. A softened heart is humble, and because of its incredible pain and hurt, it has the ability to be open- open to care more, reach out more, forgive more, and most of all, love more.

A broken and wounded heart is precious to Jesus.

He sees every open wound as an invitation to enter into the pain and heartache within. Through the agonizing sorrow, accompanied with newfound gentle softness, an open heart begins to learn the beauty of sacrificial love. This has helped me understand St. Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians 12:10

“Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

On the contrary, a hardened heart can love, but not to the fullest degree. Resistant hearts breed areas where pride can be deeply rooted within. Jesus desperately desires for the roots of pride to be removed because He can work with a humble heart, not a prideful one. It’s important to know that a hardened heart still loves; however, it doesn’t completely understand the concept of being fully opened. Therefore, a hardened heart can’t be filled and inebriated with Jesus’ love.

It’s like offering Jesus a teacup and asking Him to pour His love into it. He will gladly fill the teacup, but wishes the teacup were expanded because He has so much more love to give!

Jesus’s heart suffered greatly. His heart was broken. It was pierced, rejected, wounded, scorned, and even hated. Jesus’s heart was bursting with sorrow- with so much sorrow that it embraced love. Jesus’s heart loved from the Cross. It loved through the suffering, rejection, hatred, and betrayal. In Jesus’s suffering, he showed us how to love.

Loving can hurt. Loving can cause heartache. Loving can be painful. But if we love through it all, we’ve taken the first step to love like Jesus loves! To love like our Creator loves! How powerful is that!? That type of love cannot be destroyed, and it is what prepares our heart to be so “big” and opened, such that eventually, we will love the entire human race upon entering heaven!

At times life is charming and seems as though every star is perfectly aligned. These are beautiful and joyful times when love is sweet, tender, and filled with happiness, affection, and compassion. These are times to be cherished and shared with those dear to us.

At other times, we will experience extreme pain and heartache. It’s part of every life journey- not even Jesus and His Mother were exempt. Let these times soften your heart. Let them open your heart. Let them allow you to “love big”- because you are learning to love from the cross- like Jesus did.

“Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like your heart.”

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Angie Elser

Angie writes from Little Rock, Arkansas. She is the mother of six children and co-founder of the MOMMS (Mothers of Major and Minor Seminarians) Prayer watch for the Diocese of Little Rock.

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