Often times as a single person, life can feel incomplete becuase our hearts long for someone to love. We pray, “Dear Lord, I’m so alone, why do I feel so empty?” Or “Why can’t I find love? What’s wrong with me?” or “Being single is such a burden, so exhausting, can’t you make it stop (especially since I’m getting older or sooooo single and ready to mingle!)” Well, the good Lord tells us to take heart; not just any heart however, but His very own Sacred Heart. He tells us, “learn from me” (Matthew 11:29). Look at my heart and make your heart like mine…There you will find the answers to your prayers.
So what does the Sacred Heart of Jesus have to teach us about being single? It gives us three big clues to get to the heart of what it takes to find happiness as a single person. These clues are that we are not alone, that there is nothing wrong with us, and being single is a blessing, not a burden if we understand love.
1. You are not alone: First, the Sacred Heart tells us to look and see we are not alone. Jesus shows us in His Sacred Heart that He can relate to us because, well, He was single too! He shows us that even though we are single, we should not feel empty because our hearts still function without a girlfriend or boyfriend. Jesus as God took on flesh in the Incarnation and since God is love (1John 4:18), that means that love is embodied in the human person. God’s love is embodied in each of us in a unique way; in a way that nobody else can manifest. This is why in the image of the Sacred Heart; we see Jesus giving a blessing. It is like He is telling us, look at the blessing that you are first, then you will be enlightened to the path that you need to walk in order to find the love your heart seeks.
2. There is nothing wrong with you: Next, the Sacred Heart tells us there is nothing wrong with us because we are single and once we can realize this we can learn to find love. Jesus shows us His reply to these two heartfelt prayers (is there something wrong with me and I can’t find love) by observing His heart and the flame. Notice that the heart is there which is symbolic of love, but also notice that there is a burning flame going forth from it. Now what would happen if this flame did not go outward, but went inward? It would consume the heart and destroy it. It is the same with us. If the flame or desire of our hearts are focused inward, then it will only end up destroying us, but if that flame is pointed outward, it can allow love to be made manifest and so can give us light and guide us. So Jesus tells us in His Sacred Heart, to find love and not be empty we must be other-oriented and not self-serving.
This is why John Paul II would say that man “cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” We must look for specific ways to give of the unique gifts that God has enlightened us too in Jesus’ first reply and in doing so we will find love and fulfillment.
3. Being single is a blessing, not a burden: This brings us to the third lesson we can learn from the Sacred Heart of Jesus about being single; namely that it can seem to be a burden, but if we look with the heart of Christ, it can be a blessing. Jesus shows us this in His heart being surrounded by thorns and having the cross hovering above it in the image. We have to ask ourselves, why didn’t Jesus take away the cross when He showed us His Sacred Heart? We ask the same question in our heartfelt prayer, “Why do you keep me single? Why do I have to carry this cross?” Well it is because through sacrifice or the cross, love is not only manifested, but made perfect (which is another reason there is a flame as fire purifies).
We know that true love doesn’t just look perfect on the outside like “friends” who hang out with you only because you can make them laugh or get them some free food from the place you work. True love hangs around you when it hurts, supports you through thick and thin, in good times in bad. It can motivate you to do amazing things, things you never would have dreamed of if you were not pushed to do so because of sacrificial love.
If seen in this light, the cross can then be seen not as a curse, but a blessing! God is calling us to not only do amazing things, but BE AMAZING people while we’re single and this call to live out our greatness is truly a blessing!
As single people, we can take heart in this. Our heartfelt prayers about our love-lives are answered in a new prayer which we can learn by gazing at the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This new prayer is, “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine.” Amen.