By Isaiah Lamb, Newman Center Student
When I was a kid, I always hated talking on the phone.
I hated it most before I had hit puberty, because my high pitched voice was always mistaken for my mom’s. I would answer the phone and say “hello?” and would nearly always get the response back of “Dianne?”…after which I would sprint to wherever my mom was in an attempt to have her talk to the caller before they ever knew that it wasn’t her that answered the phone.
My aversion to talking on the phone continued well through high school, and even into college. I guess I’m not really sure why. I guess there was just a certain vulnerability there that I didn’t want to have with others. I always resorted to texting because I could think through what I wanted to say…I could appear wise and sufficiently prepared for any conversation that might arise. And furthermore, texting gave me the courage to say nearly anything that needed or that I wanted to be said. I could show my anger or confess my love without much hesitation–things I could have never worked up the fortitude to do in person. And sure, it was pretty “convenient” for me to handle all my relationships with text conversations–to be able to go back and reread messages, or save my favorites– but I think I knew all along that there was something very artificial about it all.
Fast forward to today. I can’t really describe it, but it seems as though time and the Lord’s grace has eroded away much of my desire to hide behind the screen of my smartphone. I long for face-to-face conversations, and love to call people when I have the chance. Even for the simplest of things.
“Cor ad cor loquitur” is a Latin phrase which means Heart speaks to Heart. The origin of this phrase is from St. Francis de Sales, and slightly modified and adopted as the motto of John Henry Cardinal Newman. The phrase also finds its home as the episcopal motto of my current bishop, James Conley, and is emblazoned on a shield at the Newman Center where I spent most of my university career. The more I learn about this simple phrase, the more it seems like God wants me to adopt it and dive deeper into understanding it. And there is so much to learn.
Heart Speaks to Heart.
If I think about this motto while reflecting upon my desire for intentional and intimate relationships, it seems clear to me that our hearts long deepest to be as close as possible to other hearts. Of course our hearts were made for union with God, but that unity is mirrored and paralleled by the attraction of our human hearts to one another.
The reality is that we live in a world that is afraid to be human–to be messy. Even as I write this, I recognize how much I want everything about me and everything about the way I come off to be perfect. Talking face-to-face or even on the phone requires a vulnerability to looking like and sounding like a fool. We might blubber like idiots when we don’t know exactly what to say. There might be that awkward avoidance of eye contact sometimes or the nervous laugh. But there is nothing more real and nothing more fulfilling than these personal, physical encounters. Encounters of the heart.
When we receive the Eucharist, we receive Christ’s heart in such a way that it is as close as is physically possible to our own heart. There is no coincidence in this.
Heart speaks to Heart. Heart longs for heart. Heart rests in heart. But fear attempts to keep our hearts separate–it whispers “this is awkward” or “I don’t have time”… reject these things. (Keeping healthy boundaries of course!)
If we allow our hearts to be drawn to Christ and listen to the language of His heart, the proximity sets our own hearts on fire. How could it not? And as our hearts begin to blaze like His, He calls us into relationship with others and we in turn draw near to their hearts to spread this Divine fire, and thus the whole world burns with infinite power and majesty.
We can’t stifle this fire. We have to open our hearts, even to the point of being wounded. Pray God, that we may have the courage to draw closer to one another and unite our hearts.
Here’s a fun fact: The modern heart shape (the one you think of on valentines) came from the image of two anatomical hearts being stitched together. I thought it was a profound thing.