Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on Pinterest Connect on Google Plus Connect on LinkedIn

There is No Saint of the Broken Hearted

April 18, AD2017

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.

So why is there a saint for toothaches, bad storms, and mice infestations, but not for the most anguishing of human conditions, a broken heart?

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)

Other Intercessors?

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.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Laura DeMaria is a nonprofit management professional and writer living in the metro Washington, DC area and is a recent "revert" to the faith. She studied English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned a Master's in Public Administration at the American University School of Public Affairs in Washington, DC. Her personal website, where she writes on topics including her experiences with the Legion of Mary, prison ministry and spiritual study can be found at www.laurademaria.com.

If you enjoyed this essay, subscribe below to receive a daily digest of all our essays.

Thank you for supporting us!

  • Mark McCann

    Very beautiful words. They put me to shame, as I often look upon my suffering as punishment rather than acknowledging that in all things I’m still in His loving arms. I agree about contemplating His sufferings. When I’ve done that – really done that – my little worries and hurts become light indeed. I really enjoy articles that touch me on a relational level. I think all ministry is ultimately relational. Thanks for a great piece! (){:o)

  • polistra24

    Jesus wasn’t despised or rejected. He was the most popular dude in Judea. That’s why his revolutionary movement was growing, and that’s why the Romans felt they had to stop him. An unpopular revolutionary doesn’t gain any followers, so the government doesn’t have to waste time and resources prosecuting him.

    • Guy McClung

      in this case also, back in first century AD, “the leaders of the church” did not have to waste time on an unpopular fellow. Which is why the Jewish head priest, Caiphas, and the organized church curial hierarchy of the time then had to sacrifice this one innocent man to preserve their power, status, and privileges, and their own personal interpretations of Holy Scripture. Those who do not read and know history are doomed to repeat it. We can go with Peter’s reply to them: Got it-understand what you all are ordering us to do – but we have a choice-we can obey you or we can obey God. Guy McClung, San Antonio TX

  • Guy McClung

    Dear Laura DeMaria-You nailed it in the end-your name provides the clue of the patron saint of the brokenhearted. She had her heart pierced-and is depicted often with a sword thru her heart. The blessed virgin Mary knew from the time of the presentation of the child in the temple that she would suffer-and Simeon foretold she would have her very soul pierced by a sword. I can only think that the sword of the soldier that pierced Jesus’s side while Mary watched broke her heart . If she can bear up under such indescribably painful sorrow, she will hear anyone who prays to her.

    In one view in our chruch, you can see to the right a relief of a tender smiling Mary with the toddler Jesus, laughing, with some cherubs playing with them. And to the left is the 13th station and you see Mary holding the dead body, the pierced body of her little boy. I am sorry for my part in her sorrow and I am glad she no longer suffers. I believe-sorry but I do not mean to be sexist – that mothers suffer a unique pain when a child of theirs is hurt – and I cannot imagine a pain like Our Lady’s on Calvary.

    Thank you for your thought-provoking, insightful words.

    Guy Mcclung, San Antonio, Texas

  • stefoodie

    I think there isn’t a listed saint “for the broken hearted” because EVERY saint has had his or her heart broken, just in different ways. We are all broken until we allow the Lord to heal us and make us whole, and I’m not even sure that the wholeness we truly need is possible or obtainable this side of heaven. I think that having our hearts broken is a prerequisite to sainthood. Until we are able to see Him as our all in all, some part of us will always remain fragmented or crushed or shattered. Prayers for you.