When you grow up Catholic, you encounter a version of Jesus which seems to be unknown to the Protestant world. He is in blue and red robes with a crowned and thorned heart bursting forth in radiating beauty. Sometimes he is holding it, and other times it hovers outside his body. It is always glowing.
When I was a child, I imagined that it hurt a lot to have your heart out of your body in such a way. I remembered how this image scared me. The holy mother was always the softer counterpoint to this version of Christ. Still, it was fascinating his eyes were calm, and arms were openly ready to embrace.
Today, my parents in all their care, caution me to guard my heart. That wearing it on my sleeve comes at a cost. Love is sometimes protective.
I can't imagine a world that I would want to live in where my heart is not open. I think that the lesson in all of this is that the harrowing act of living with a heart outside yourself and in an open embrace is that the illumination of love so outweighs the pain. Evil wins when fear causes us to hold our hearts back and outside of the light of goodness. That to shine we must be able to calmly walk through the momentary heartache and still reach out to our fellow man.
I left the Chruch all those years ago because I believed in the goodness of man. I wasn't willing to condemn those who found love in the arms of the same gender. This will never change.
In Christ's time, he too rebuked those of the priestly caste who betrayed the faithful at the temple. Recognizing that man can be corrupted even those who consider themselves as godly.
If Christ taught us anything, it is that the heart is sacred. What good are we to our fellow men if we aren't willing to burn brightly?