Taking care of our heart

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

“From one’s heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.” (Mk 7, 21-23)

With these words, Christ is practically telling us that we have to take good care of our heart, which means that we should anchor it on him, since we are supposed to be patterned after him as God’s image and likeness.

Thus, in the Book of Proverbs, we have this invitation from God, “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes delight in my ways.” (23,26) This invitation should be clear in our mind and heart, and we should do everything to be able to correspond to that invitation properly.

Nowadays when our heart is glutted with so many worldly things, it is really a tall order to say, yes, to this invitation. But with God’s grace, which we can always receive with due humility on our part, there is no doubt that we can do it.

We have to remember that our heart is actually the very seat of our thoughts, desires and conscience. It’s that part that contains our whole being, and therefore the most precious part we have. Our whole identity, both in its stable and dynamic states, is found in the heart.

It’s the source of what our mouth would say. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Mt 12,4). It is what gives the motives for our thoughts, desires, words and deeds.

It’s also where we hear the voice of God as well as that of the devil, where we discern the spirit of God and that of the evil one. It’s where we make our decisions, promises and commitments.

It’s where the dynamics of our faith, hope and charity is played out. But it can also be where merely worldly values, passing and relative, can dominate. Thus, it is where our interior struggle is done, where our choice of either God or ourselves is made.

And if we want to be assured of the authenticity or sincerity of one’s thoughts, words and deeds, we normally ask if they really spring from one’s heart.

But we should never forget that the heart is not self-generated. It is a creature, a creature of God who wants it to be like his, his image and likeness. It is meant to be vitally united with God who is its very life, its very power and all. Without God, the heart at least malfunctions, if not dies.

We have to see to it that our heart is anchored on God through Christ in the Holy Spirit. He is the very source of our being, of our life. We are meant to be with him, though we can choose to stray from him due to the misuse of our freedom.

Everyday we have to see to it that indeed our heart is anchored on God. We should never let it float in any which way. We have to see to it that our heart increasingly gets united to God until it is fully identified with him. To be sure, we have all the means to achieve this goal.

We have to constantly ask the question: “Where do I give my heart? To whom do I give myself completely?” And let’s be ready with the correct answer.

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