As a friend and I were speaking the other day, he pulled out his phone to silence it. I happened to notice the wallpaper on his phone and thought I recognized it.
“Hey, is that the Sacred Heart icon that Cardinal Burke commissioned as Bishop of Lacrosse?” I asked. I had spent some time in St. Louis when His Eminence was Archbishop there, so I had seen the icon on several occasions.
“Not quite,” my friend responded somewhat sheepishly, putting his phone away.
Sensing I’d embarrassed him, I dropped the matter. But later he came by to show me the photo which, with his permission, I’m sharing here.
“I’ve had that icon since I was a seminarian in St. Louis,” my friend told me. He had discerned out and was now married with one child.
“You also know about the fertility problems we’ve been dealing with,” he added. Indeed: despite more than six years of consultations with Dr. Hilgers himself, my friend and his wife had yet to conceive another child.
“We made a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche many years ago,” my friend continued. “She makes powerful intercession for couples struggling with infertility. When my wife’s sister heard about our trip, she sent us this statue,” he said, pointing to Our Lady in the photo. “Without thinking about it too much, I put the statue in our little home oratory, right in front of the Sacred Heart icon.”
He stopped and considered a moment. “Earlier this month I had been praying there when I noticed that Mary’s head was right at the center of Christ’s heart. I’d never noticed that before, and I didn’t consciously place the statue in that position. But when I noticed it, the Lord powerfully seized me. All of a sudden many things made more sense to me. Like going to Jesus through Mary. Or how Mary nurtured the Sacred Heart in her arms. The Holy Family fully present in His Heart. All kinds of things.”
He showed me the photo again. “So I took a picture of this visual coincidence that is, of course, something more than a coincidence. It gives me hope when I consider our challenges in fertility. And it reminds me of the almighty power of our Lord’s Sacred Heart.”