Here Is the Door of My Heart

Here is the door of my heart, Jesus. Please come in. You don’t even need to knock. Just call my name on the side porch and I’ll come running to open the door for you. I know, I know, I don’t always eagerly welcome you. Sometimes I pull the blinds and pretend I’m not at home. But I really, really want to welcome you–eagerly and always. Day or night. When convenient or inconvenient. In good times and bad.

Remind me, Jesus, that the door of my heart is totally controlled from the inside, by me. No one else has the key. I decide who or what enters. And what a daunting responsibility that is. I ask you to make IMG_1109the door of my heart as wide and as open as yours was when you walked this earth. Help me, as you did, to let in this marvelous, created world: the birds of the air, the lilies of the field, a setting sun, the glistening of a lake, the panoramic view from a mountain top, germinating seeds, rising dough, the taste of good wine, woolly sheep, gangly camels, and devoted mother hens. Help me to see everything as sacred, as holy.

And help me to welcome people. All kinds of people, as you did: the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the wise and the foolish, the beautiful and the plain, the little children, the elderly, the ill, the hungry, the grieving, the imprisoned, and the restless and the searching ones. Help me to welcome family (even when we get a little tired of each other) and friends (even when we don’t agree on everything.)

And help me to welcome your Word into my heart. Your Word that challenges me with its mandate to love one another—no matter what. Your Word that promises God’s unconditional love for me no matter what silly or awful things I may do. Your Word that gives me hope and courage and strength–especially in confusing or difficult times.

Loving Jesus, may the door of my heart always be open to the real world—your world—with all its pain and sorrow, joy and pleasure, violence and hatred, tenderness and compassion. When I get discouraged, remind me of those words of St. John of the Cross: “Where there is no love, put love—and you will find love.”

Here is the door of my heart, Jesus. Please come in. Please. Amen.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

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  1. Shauna Bankemper on December 24, 2012 at 5:37 am

    Hi, Melannie! Thank you for the heartfelt prayer! I too pray that I don’t find myself saying “there is no room in this inn!” Thank you for always being at home and welcoming me at your side door! Your words, friendship, and love are gifts! Merry Christmas! Shauna

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on December 24, 2012 at 6:43 am

      Dear Shauna, Thank you for responding. Since you live in Rome, you’re always one of the first to read my posts! Your friendship is a gift that keeps giving! Thank you. (PS to my readers: the photo is a picture of the side door to my house!) Melannie

  2. pjnoga on December 24, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Merry Christmas! Melannie, I know this side door too well. I helped at St. Mary’s as a postulant. I was always welcomed at this side door. It holds many fond memories for me. You share many beautiful words and prayers with all of us. I treasure your friendship as a true Christmas gift. There is always room in the inn when one loves the
    Reason for the Season , Jesus, as you do. PJ

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on December 24, 2012 at 10:48 am

      Thank you, PJ! I’m glad the photo brought back some fond memories for you! Merry Christmas, dear Friend! Melannie

  3. Regina Davala on December 24, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Thank you for the beautiful message, Melannie! I recognize that door 😉

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on December 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      Dear Regina, Thank you! (Readers: Regina lived at St. Mary Convent for many years…Many times did she walk in and out of this door!) Melannie

  4. Larry Cummins on December 24, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Hello Melannie,

    I have been a reader of your books for many years. You bring words to life for me and that is no easy task. Thank you.

    I lived in Mentor, Ohio from 1966-1983 and then moved to New Hampshire with my wife and 4 children. This is a perfect place because the landscape here speaks to me of God no matter where I am at. And this prayer of the heart is a wonderful reminder of those blessings.

    A Blessed Christmas to you and your sisters.


    • Melannie Svoboda SND on December 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      Dear Larry, Thank you so much for your words! I was born and raised near Mentor–in Willoughby Hills, OH. I left there in 1962 when I entered the Sisters of Notre Dame…I’ve been to New Hampshire several times giving talks and retreats. In fact, I’m giving a weekend retreat at Barakah July 12-15 in Pittsbfield, NH…It certainly is a lovely state! Thanks again. Christmas and New Year Blessings on you and your family! Melannie

  5. Annie on December 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Dear Melannie,
    Thank you for this beautiful, prayerful reflection!

  6. Helen Burdenski, SND on December 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Hi Melannie,
    Thank you so much for this beautiful Christmas prayer. I am always nourished and inspired by your words, whether they are written or spoken. You are a precious gift in so many ways. That little wooden rocking chair is on the corner of my desk as I write these words and it often reminds me to slow down and cherish the now–whatever it holds. Have a grace-filled Christmas and may 2013 be filled with blessings of all kinds–good health, deep peace, much joy, and many fun times. Love, Helen

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on December 24, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      Dear Helen, Thank you so much for your kind words! You are likewise a precious gift for me! Blessings on your Christmas and New Year! Continue to “cherish the now.” Melannie

  7. Dion on December 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Blessed Christmas. Thank you for your simple reflection. I love the door of your home – always welcoming. I’m eager for a time to play with you. Thanks.

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on December 24, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      Dear Dion, And how much I enjoy seeing you on my side porch! Thanks again! Melannie

  8. Nancy Meyers SND Assoc. on January 8, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Good Morning Sister,
    While reading the Covington SND articles, I found the Chardon website and clicked on your page and LOVED it. I met you at the Associate Convention several years ago and you gave several presentations at the Covington Province. I have several of your books that you signed and I sent you the picture entitled “Jesus I’m A Teacher Too.” I think the last time you were to come down, it had to be cancelled due to bad weather. Looking forward to receiving your weekly e-mails that I signed up for and hope to see and hear more your presentations. God is Good. Nancy

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on January 8, 2013 at 10:40 am

      Dear Nancy, How nice to have another Notre Dame Associate aboard! Thank you for signing up! I’ve enjoyed all the times I have spoken in Covington. Nice people south of the Ohio River–and north of the river too! Gratefully, Sr. Melannie

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