Love Bade Me Welcome
Kathleen McCarty

Love Bade Me Welcome

By Kathleen McCarty

We love because He first loved us. — 1 John 4:1

As we celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 7 (and honor the Sacred Heart during the entire month of June), it seems appropriate to reflect on the love of Christ. When the Word became flesh, he did so knowing that he would have a human heart — a tender and vulnerable heart, with the ability to be wounded and rejected. The very depth of his love for us means that the wounds we cause him through our sins, our indifference, and our pride are more profound than we could ever imagine.

For us, our own wound of original sin makes it difficult to accept and believe in the depth of his love. He gave us everything and he offers us everything — his own life of grace and eternal joy. But this can often be hard to accept. Sin causes a distortion of our vision and our way of relating to God. This distortion leads to, or perhaps is fundamentally caused by, a lack of trust. It causes us to doubt God’s goodness. It can also cause us to doubt our own worth and lovability. Our vision requires purification in order to receive his love and to see the gifts that the Lord wants to give.

This purification is not easy. Yet, even when we feel unworthy and unlovable, even when our sight remains obscured, even when we sin, God continues to invite us back into relationship with him again and again. Though we may have given up on ourselves, he refuses to give up on us.

George Herbert, a 17th- century Welsh poet, captured the essence of this dynamic in his poem “Love III”


Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back

Guilty of dust and sin.

But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack

From my first entrance in,

Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,

If I lacked any thing.


A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:

Love said, You shall be he.

I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,

I cannot look on thee.

Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,

Who made the eyes but I?


Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame

Go where it doth deserve.

And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?

My dear, then I will serve.

You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:

So I did sit and eat.


Notice how Herbert begins the poem with an invitation. This is an important reminder that God’s love for us always comes first. While faith requires a response on our part, it is firstly a gift and a welcome into a relationship with a Person. “Love III” describes the eagerness of the Lord for our love. While the poem also brings to light the shame resulting from sin, it contains the answer to this brokenness in some expressly Eucharistic language. The end of the poem is framed in terms of both a sacrifice — “who bore the blame?” — and a meal — “I did sit and eat.” There is also a strong connection in the line “taste my meat” with Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you” (Jn 6:53).  Speaking personally, this poem has proven to be a fruitful point of reference for meditation for me upon the love of Christ — and the Eucharist.

The Eucharist, the sacrament of love, is what gives us life. It helps us to heal from the wound of sin — both the sins we have committed and the sins that others have committed against us. Confessing our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and receiving forgiveness from the Lord prior to receiving the Eucharist prepares us to receive that love and that healing. Jesus bled to the very last drop of blood in his body out of love for you. Nothing gives him greater joy than when we return to him with all of our hearts in thanksgiving for what he did and continues to do for us. The Greek word for Eucharist, “Eucharistia,” itself means “thanksgiving.” What other response could be possible when we come to realize what this gift means? 

During this month of the Sacred Heart, let’s take some time to thank Jesus — for his love, for his faithfulness, and most importantly, for the gift of himself in the Eucharist. By touching the wounds of our hearts to the wounds of his Sacred Heart, he will provide what we need to heal any distortions that are preventing us from receiving his love. Sometimes all we have to offer him is our own misery, but maybe that is exactly what he wants us to bring to him. Only he has the power to transform our misery into something mysterious and beautiful.  

(Kathleen McCarty is executive assistant to the Chief of Staff for the Diocese of Colorado Springs.)

Previous Article Abortion-inducing drugs: wrong for women and pharmacists
Next Article THE BISHOP'S CROZIER: The Catholic Education ‘Investment’
21 Rate this article:
No rating

Kathleen McCartyKathleen McCarty

Other posts by Kathleen McCarty
Contact author
Please login or register to post comments.

Contact author



  • All
  • Current issue
  • 40th Anniversary of the Diocese
  • Arts & Culture
  • Puzzle Answers
  • Diocesan News
  • Diocesan Schools
  • Deanery Briefs
  • Parish News
  • Bishop's Corner
  • The Bishop's Crozier
  • El Báculo del Obispo
  • Book Reviews
  • Español
  • Eucharistic Revival
  • Obituaries
  • Opinion
  • Commentary
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Editorials
  • Marriage and Family
  • Religious Freedom
  • Respect Life
  • US/World News
  • Vocations