When times are tough, I — like many Catholics — turn to my friends, the saints. Whether you’re searching for a job, battling breast cancer, or asking for a safe journey, there’s usually a saint for every cause.
Look to Jesus
The answer is Jesus. I believe the Church has been infinitely wise in never appointing a saint to be our safeguard against a broken heart because, rather than look to an earthly guide, we are called to turn our sorrow over to Jesus’s heart.
Jesus understands our heartbreak. Think of how He wept at Lazarus’s death, the agony He experienced in the garden of Gethsemane, and His painful knowledge of a future betrayal by His own disciple. He spent the last few years of His life despised and misunderstood, dying a humiliating and agonizing death. Even now, I believe He looks on the world’s brokenness and feels grief for how much heartbreak we experience here on earth, and the ways His children turn their backs on Him.
Scripture tells us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” It is a critical component of our relationship with Christ that we learn to turn over our suffering to Him.
Approach God in Your Suffering
If you are in a place of mourning or sadness, there are a few ways to approach God in order to find solace and healing. One is to contemplate Christ’s suffering during His time here on Earth. For example, praying the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary – and not just praying, but visualizing, feeling, and experiencing those mysteries and spending some time with Jesus in His sorrow– will bring you closer to Him and give your own loss perspective.
Another way to seek peace is to have a prayerful conversation with Jesus about what you’re going through that’s hurting. Speak honestly and conversationally to Him as you would a friend. Talk about the root of your heartbreak, and ask for His help. You may ask Him to show you not just what can be learned from your situation and how to bear it, but to remind you of your blessings. Also, if you’re a little annoyed at Him for allowing this to happen, that’s okay, too, but let Him know that as you pray for perspective.
Most importantly, turn your suffering straight over to Jesus and His Sacred Heart, asking Him to help you carry your burden. Sometimes we forget that God does not intend us to carry all the weight of our problems on our own; He desires that we reach out and seek Him with a willing (even if broken) heart. There are multiple prayers to His Sacred Heart, and one of my favorites contains this phrase:
“To whom can I turn if not to You, Whose Heart is the source of all graces and merits? Where should I seek if not in the treasure which contains all the riches of Your kindness and mercy? Where should I knock if not at the door through which God gives Himself to us and through which we go to God? I have recourse to You, Heart of Jesus. In You I find consolation when afflicted, protection when persecuted, strength when burdened with trials, and light in doubt and darkness.”
As Saint Paul tells us, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts.” (Romans 5:5, emphasis added) There will never be a time when you cannot access God’s love and grace.
Remember His eternal promise to you: “I am with you always, until the end of time.” (Matthew 28:20)
Although Jesus is our best friend and the true lover of our hearts, we would be remiss to overlook one more powerful figure who understands suffering: His Mother, Mary.
Turn to the Blessed Mother whose own Immaculate Heart was pierced with the swords of sorrow. If there is any human who can understand your anguish it is her, and, as the Memorare reminds us, “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.” We can emulate the Holy Mother in her “yes” to God: Lord, help me to accept your will for me, even when the way is unclear.
When it comes to heartbreak, the Church has not abandoned us. While there may not be a designated patron saint of the broken hearted, we have something much better: Jesus. In all of your sorrow, know that He is the ultimate source of love and healing, and is the one Person who will never break your heart.