Well, it finally happened. It was bound to in a house with four teenagers. It will probably happen a couple more times, too. No, I am not talking about spilling red juice on a newly mopped floor or breaking a picture frame by throwing a ball in the house. These have happened over and over again in my house, but not this week. This week something more fragile than a frame was broken.
I am referring not to a broken frame, but a broken heart; not spilled juice, but a flood of feelings and emotions.
My son's high school sweetheart of 3 1/2 years broke up with him. Since the middle of freshman year, they had the type of relationship that, if a child of mine is going to date in high school, I can bless. "Going out" consist mostly of just enjoying being in one another's presence at his or her home with family around. They, of course, saw each other in school and occasionally had a few classes together or the same lunch periods. Together, they attended many youth group activities. When they could drive, they began to go to a movie once in a while or go to the local frozen yogurt or Italian ice joint. There was also junior and senior proms. While they enjoyed being with each other, they did not have to be together all the time in order to be happy. Many weekends, they were busy doing other things with family or other friends. Affectionate, they were not a clingy, mushy couple. On the contrary, they had a wonderful high school relationship.
Now, however, the time for college has come. They each will be attending their own universities. His girlfriend wants to jump into college with both feet and not have to keep looking back. Perhaps a mature decision, but not one without consequences. For my son envisioned this lovely, young lady in his future always. So she leaves behind a broken heart.
Most of us have suffered a broken heart at some time. It is a tough experience to brave; the pain from which only time will alleviate.
My son is going through the stages of grief - denial, bargaining, anger, depression and, perhaps soon, acceptance. In the mean time, he is surrounding himself with good friends. He always has family around. And, thank God, he has share with me throughout this ordeal his feelings and thoughts.
As a mom, I wish I could do something to heal the suffering. Alas, there are no band-aides for broken hearts.
I looked in Scriptures for verses to share with him. Psalms has a few - Ps. 73:26, Ps. 147:3, but my favorite is Ps. 34:18, "The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." I myself found comfort in knowing that God is even closer to my son than I am, helping him to become stronger.
I wondered if there is a friend in heaven to join in my prayers for a healed heart. I thought of St. Valentine, who had to say goodbye to those whom he loved. St. Rita is always one of my go-to saints. Maybe she who must have suffered much at the cruelty of her husband and sons would be moved by his broken heart to pray for my son. Perhaps I could pray to St. Raphael and ask him to help my son find a nice Catholic girl in college. I heard St. Anthony is invoked in Portugal and Brazil to help find, of all things, spouses! I guess that would be moving a bit too fast. Nonetheless, I do often pray to Saints Anne and Joachim for the future spouses of my children. I suppose I will leave it at that for now.
Upon researching to find out if the Church has an official patron saint of the broken hearted, I discovered St. Dwynwen. A 5th century princess of Whales, she fell in love with Prince Maelon. One version of the story has her father refusing permission to allow them to marry since he had promised her to another. Maelon becomes entrapped in ice. Dwynwen prays and begs God that Maelon be released, that she remain unmarried and that God look after and protect all true loves. God grants her requests. The saint then retreats into solitude to become a hermit until she dies a happy, holy death.
There is a wonderful prayer asking her intercession:
Oh Blessed Saint Dwynwen, you who knew pain and peace, division and reconciliation, You have promised to aid lovers and you watch over those whose hearts have been broken. As you received 3 boons from an Angel, intercede for me to receive 3 blessings to obtain my heart's desire (state requests). If that's not God's will, a speedy healing from my pain, your guidance and assistance that I may find love with the right person the right way in the right time, and an unshakable faith in the boundless kindness and wisdom of God. This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Perhaps I shall leave this pray on his pillow. I know, and I think he knows, that I will continue to be here if he wants to talk. I will also pray to St. Dwynwen, along with St. Rita and St. Valentine, and probably even St. Raphael. Most of all, I will leave my son in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for no one's heart could have been more broken than His. I will, likewise, trust in the Immaculate Heart of Mary whose heart was pierced as she watched her son suffer. What else can a mom do?
What suggestion do you have that may heal a broken heart?
Copyright 2014 Kelly Guest
About the Author
God has given Kelly lots of wonderful opportunities to follow Him. She was a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville, an education coordinator for a Catholic Charities' program for pregnant teens, a middle school teacher, a director of religious education and is now a youth minister. Her most challenging and rewarding calling, though, is wife and mother of ten children. What she has learned, she blogs at CatholicMom.com.