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The Window of Our Heart


lightreflection 350Since the COVID 19 Pandemic started, I have remained at home most of the time. During this time,  I have been able to spend much time with mind and heart work, as well as physical work.

One of my physical works has been cleaning windows at Marymount Spirituality Centre, Castle Hill. I have discovered that the many windows of the Centre are very different in size and shape, as well as in colour and glaze. All the windows give benefits such as light, beauty, warmth through the sun in winter, and fresh air when open.

One particular day while I was enjoying cleaning them, Julian of Norwich came vividly to my mind. There were three windows which held significance to her in her monastic life.

The first window spoke to Julian of the world of nature and physical needs; the second window, of connecting with others, and the third window, “God’s window”, opened into the church, so she could listen to and watch Mass as well as receive Holy Communion on Feast days.

My attention that day was deeply drawn into the meaning of her three windows for her, and for me in my life, as I have these three windows, too. I am led to ask myself: How do I live through these windows meaningfully and worthily, too?

When reflecting on the first window – that of the world of nature and physical needs – I recalled the Catholic Church’s celebration of the 5th Anniversary of Laudato Si and its dedicated week, 16th May to 24th May. Pope Francis again asked: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who will come after us, to children who are growing up?” This profound question spoke to my whole being and asked of me: How do I respond to Pope Francis’ question in my daily life? What can I do in terms of protecting our home-earth? In living out the realities of every day, what are my human needs? Even more: Who am I? Can I accept my limitations and weaknesses?

Do these questions resonate with you, too? Do you have other questions of yourself?

Connection with others was the second window for Julian. This window spoke deeply to me of our current situation with COVID-19. It raised within me the question: How do I keep connecting deeply with others and support them? St Paul sums up the answer so well:  “Try to grow perfect; help one another, be united; live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor. 13:11). Am I willing to open myself to the needs of others and to serve all, especially those who are not “perfect” in my eyes? How can I grow in this area?

Julian of Norwich had a particular window for encountering God in her  life – the third window.  Reflecting on this third window was a great awakening for me. God has always been in this window, but sometimes for me I haven’t given priority to God in my daily life. Regardless of this, God has been, is, and always will be faithful and present to me. Through my reflections I deeply realised how God’s love has never left me even though sometimes I don’t ‘feel’ God’s presence. Scripture speaks so vividly of this enduring Presence: “God is always faithful. for he cannot disown himself” (2 Tim. 2:13).  Julian of Norwich’s words are also most profound: “Love was God’s meaning”. Yes, God’s faithfulness, compassion and love will never change because these are God’s nature.

What might be the three windows of your everyday life? (Perhaps you have more than three) You may wish to reflect on what these are and their meaning for you.

Together, let us ask for God’s grace to freely open the windows of our heart to our Ever-Faithful and Loving God and to our brothers and sisters, so that we may be transformed to live our daily lives patiently and joyfully, embracing life as a gift from God.

On Sunday, June 7th,  we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity. My reflections on this great Feast lead me to prefer to believe in the deep mystery of God, Father, the Son and  Holy Spirit, Three-in-One, rather than to try to engage my limited mind and struggle to comprehend it. The following prayer captures succinctly for me the profound and all-embracing depths of this Triune God:

May the power and mercy of God the Creator give us faith and strength for our journey. May the love of Christ Jesus, our Redeemer, heal the broken places of our lives. And may the light of the Spirit empower us to proclaim with all our beings: Glory to you, Holy Trinity, Undivided Unity. Glory and praise forever. Amen.

(Office Book: Sisters of Mercy)

Katrina Zhang RSM