SAINT LUTGARDE, “EXCHANGE OF HEARTS’

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A Benedictine Cisterian saint, called St. Lutgarde celebrates her feast day on June 16.

St. Lutgarde has gifts of healing and prophecy.  Ten years before she died, our Lord let her know that He wants her to do three important things for the remaining years of her life.

1.  To always praise God in all things.

2.  To pray for the conversion of sinners.

3.   To have faith in God’s provision until she passes to heaven.

Her beautiful story begins as a young pre-teen, about 12 years old.  She was sent to a Benedictine monastery called St. Catherine in Belgium in the 12th century.  In those days, it was a disgrace in their society if you do not have a dowry for your daughter.  The business activities of her father failed and the family did not have the money sufficient for a dowry.  To hide from this embarrassment, her mother saved up some money so she can enter a Benedictine monastery.

In the monastery, the sisters were very patient with their new boarder.  She  loved to make herself pretty and attractive.  She entertained and accepted flattery from boys who would visit the monastery.  The Benedictines nuns did not have high hopes for her that she will ever be serious with the monastic life.

One day,  one of her suitors proposed that they run away.  She felt flattered with this proposal.  However, our Lord intervened with a flashing vision.  Our Lord showed His side wounds to the young gal.

She immediately knew that she would offer her life for the reparation of sins.  She told the young suitor to go away.   Exasperated she exclaimed, “You leave me alone.  I have a new Lover.”  With a capital L,  her life turned around for the One that deserves all her affections – Jesus Christ.

She received consolations from our Lord and their relationship grew to a supernatural level.  One day, she realized that she is tired of not understanding “Latin”.  So, she told our Lord, “I want to learn Latin, so I can pray and worship better.”  And, our Lord gave her the gift of language.  She was so ecstatic when she comprehended the antiphons, the Psalms and the mass parts.  However, she felt that her new intellectual gain did not translate to deeper emotions for our Lord.

She wanted something else from our Lord.  And, our Lord looked at her gently and asked her, “What is it you want now?”

Lutgard asked for the Lord’s heart.

And,  Jesus said, “I will give you My Heart.  And, I want your heart too.”

So  the mystical exchange of hearts happened between the two of them.

This happened even before Our Lord Jesus appeared to St. Margaret.

Lutgarde wanted more opportunities to fast and live an ascetic life.  So, she joined the Cisterians, a stricter order of the Benedictines.  Isolated in a French-speaking country,  her life with Jesus even grew deeper.  She was known to fast for several years with just bread and water.

Let us pray to this Benedictine Saint to ask her intercession for the grace to stop vanity in our lives.  We can also ask her for the grace to understand how to make acts of repentance and acts of reparation so we can assist the Lord in his Calvary.  We can also ask St. Lutgarde to help our children in their vocation.

The youth can pray to St. Lutgarde to intercede for them to handle their friendship with the opposite sex so that they can find the spouse and friendship that is aligned to God’s will.

Thank you St. Lutgarde for allowing me to draw you with our Lord Jesus Christ and to display the beautiful story of how you exchanged hearts with our Lord.  Help us to always seek the heart of Jesus in learning to love and forgive those that our Lord brings to our path.  Help us to not protect our hearts and instead seek the Divine Heart, which is ever so vulnerable but full of compassion.  Amen.

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