Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The secrets of the Heart from Fr.Tom

“God who knows the secrets of the heart?” Ps 44.22.

I am of the opinion, that if the Holy Spirit were to inspire us to understand the full import of this verse, I think our lives would dramatically change. If we were to be deeply aware and convinced that God knows every intention, desire and motive of our every action and wish, we would be mighty careful of what we do, say and desire. God will expose the motives of men’s hearts: 1 Cor 4.5: He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. Let us explore this further.

When Holy Scripture uses the word “ Heart” it means the inmost part of our make up as human beings. It is the very essence of our being, emotions and sensibilities. We might now call it our soul, our spirit. That is why when we say that we love someone with our whole heart, we mean that we love that person very dearly, very deeply from the depths of our being. That is how God wants to be loved: with our whole hearts: Deut 6.5: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

For Jesus, the heart is the source of our being and acting. “Mt.15.19.For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. Again: Mt 6. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Sin begins in the heart: Mt 5. 28.But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Our hearts can be sinful and sullied by sin. Human heart can be very deceitful: Jer 17. 9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? So in Ps. 51. 10 we pray with the psalmist: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. In the beatitudes, Jesus tells us that those who have clean, pure heart will see God: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God (Mt 5.8). This is why we need to have clean hearts. Since sin sullies our hearts, we need to shun sin as a plague, as a venomous serpent.

Sinful hearts can be purified by the word of God: “You have been made clean already by the teaching I have given you” Jn 15.3. This is why we need to keep the word of God in our hearts like our Blessed Mother: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart (Lk 2.19). So it is not enough to hear or read the word of God but we need to understand it (St Mat. 13.19: “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart”.

Jesus was deeply aware of what the Pharisees and the Scribes were thinking and the motives of their actions. So in Mt 23. 1-36. It is a sad reading. They who thought were serving God ended up doing exactly the opposite because their hearts were perverse. We had better take care lest we be indicted too.

Let us end with a prayer for a change of heart as he did for Saul: 1 Sam 10.9: As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul's heart…” Lord change my heart too. Or better ask the Lord for a new heart and a new spirit: Ezechiel 36. 25 “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

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