Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

27 April 2011

Notes in the Octave III: Symptoms of Heart Burn

No pharmaceutical companies have prompted the following reflections, nor are any such companies receiving an endorsement in them.

Do you experience heart burn?  How would you know if you did?  Recognize the signs.

You may be experiencing some difficulties in your life, such as the recurrence of emotional or other trauma.  Perhaps you felt you may have dealt with these difficulties sufficiently in the past, but you are changing and your perspective on the past is too.  Some people experience a gnawing interest in knowing the truth about themselves or a relationship with a spouse, coworker, friend, or family member.  You may be interested in a more precise sense of personal responsibility in these situations.  Many have reported anger, disillusionment, disappointment, fear, or even generalized physical pains.

If symptoms persist, talk to your confessor.  If you don't have one, get one.  Talk to him about heart burn and what time-honored solutions are available.  If you need help, know that it is available.  You don't have to be alone in it anymore.

Two of Jesus' disciples experienced heart burn prior to Jesus' appearance to them on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), but it wasn't until He walked and talked with them that they could put a finger on it.  What helped for them was personal reflection, interpersonal conversation (as opposed to a sort of rumination that can be compared to running on a gerbil wheel), and the direct application of the Scriptures to their life--the choices (actions, words, thoughts) they've made in the past, their choices (actions, words, thoughts) of how to deal with their choices, and what new options (actions, words, thoughts) may prove more effective.  The Breaking of the Bread (Eucharist) also contributed significantly to effective treatment in those who were eligible.  Results are not always immediately perceived.

Be warned that a heart-to-Heart with the Christ can actually provoke heart burn.  In such an event, do not panic.  This is normal, and will subside only when you part company with Him, in which case you will want to repeat the experience until your condition becomes irremediable.  Continue to use all necessary human helps (e.g., Confession/Spiritual Direction, Participation in the Eucharist, Worthy Companionship, Productive Self-Examination) throughout the process, otherwise you may never recover.

You may be convinced at some point that you are cured; if persistent thoughts of this sort occur, repeat the treatment until such thoughts subside.  Physical death has not been reported as a side effect, except regarding those who have utterly abandoned their course of treatment; in these cases spiritual death always preceded physical.  Here as always, early detection is most helpful, but when treatment is swiftly and consistently applied, success has been reported in even the most extreme cases.

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