What does it mean to be hidden, to carry a burden no one can see or touch or understand, no one but God alone? There is a particular crucifixion of the heart—what St. Padre Pio defined as the transverberation of the heart—because a heart that is hidden knows that love and suffering cannot be separated.
When St. Padre Pio was first pierced with the stigmata, he learned quickly that love is a sort of death. The paradox of love-in-suffering became manifest from that day onward, and he understood a sort of mystical piercing of the heart that relates back to the sword in the heart of Our Lady. This may well be the reason for his devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows, because he also experienced this wound in his heart that Jesus transformed into love.
Suffering for us, too, can translate into this spiritual paradox of love-in-suffering. The physiological evidence of a broken heart has been documented by scientists, in the sense that the heart does, in fact, feel pain when it suffers loss. Grief, when it is prolonged like an interminable winter, becomes a season of suffering. And the strange fact is that this stretch of life can actually increase a person’s capacity to love.
A wounded heart can become the source of a greater love.
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