- Last Updated: July 8, 2018
“My heart just wasn’t in it.”
This is a go-to reason I give or am given whenever I opt out of something, lose a game, or something doesn’t go the way it was supposed to. A lot of times, when things don’t go the way we intend or we fail, we can see ways we weren’t fully invested in it. We see ways we could’ve acted differently. Think of a job you left, a sport you stopped playing, or a relationship you ended. When it comes down to it, we typically say that we just weren’t in it, giving our all, with our hearts in it. Anything important in our lives, if it’s going to survive, requires our heart to be in it. This is exactly true in the spiritual life as well.
In this weekends readings we hear a lot about humility and mercy. To the extent that you might find it overwhelming or really well-coordinated by the Church. In the first reading, God sends Ezekiel as a prophet to the Israelites who had become “obstinate of heart” to preach to them the Word of the Lord, and make them aware of their ways. In the psalm, we hear a prayer of repentance and mercy, as the psalmist pleads “...so our eyes are on the Lord, our God, until He has pity.” Then, in the second reading we hear St. Paul’s account of his sufferings and how they keep him humble. Lastly, Christ is not welcome in his own home town in the Gospel, because the people simply do not wish to accept him — to change.
In all of these readings, two types of people are emphasized: those who have hardened their hearts and are comfortable, and those who have softened their hearts and suffer. What insight does this give us to our spiritual lives and to our God?
First, God doesn’t care if we are successful, or rich, or powerful in life. He cares if we’re faithful, if we love him. Certainly we have small missions in life from God, but primarily God is concerned if we’ve given Him our hearts. God entered into a covenant with us; it’s a lot like a marriage. While it’s not bad if your spouse is successful, important, or revered by others, that’s not your main concern, nor why you married them. You married them for their heart. Christ gave us His heart in dying, now we can give him ours.
Second, God’s mercy is not aimed simply at doing away with our sins like crossing off items on a grocery list. God’s mercy is transformative in our life. We no longer remain the same sinful person we were. Our hearts are to be changed forever by the mercy and forgiveness of God.
Lastly, suffering, bitter as it may be, has a place in our spiritual lives. St. Paul was given to suffer so that he could cultivate and remain in the virtue of humility and keep his heart soft for the Lord. Christ Himself experiences suffering and humiliation by His own home town when they rejected him, and he was amazed at their lack of faith. Almost incredulous. Our lives will be no different. But the beauty of the cross, is that it takes our suffering and unites us to Christ in His passion, with the very beating of His Sacred Heart. The prosperity gospel has no place in our lives because they should be filled with an authentic, real, transformative love of Christ. Know the Lord loves you more than anyone ever has or will, and His Sacred Heart burns with a fiery passion for your heart. Let Him have it.
“Here’s my heart, Lord. Take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.” —Come Thou Font, Hymn￼