Points To Ponder In The Heart
It is appropriate that this week’s events are close to our hearts - the visit of Pope Francis, the beginning of the new liturgical year, Advent, which means “coming” and includes His final coming along with the coming birthday of Jesus. How do you want to prepare for all these? Each one has the key to unlock the treasure which is there in one’s heart.
A change of heart. Everyone needs a spiritual change today and every day of one’s life—to find strength in our weakness, to see light in darkness, to look ahead and not at the shadows behind. Look at water. Without water life cannot exist. It is an essential component of our life. Look at our space exploration, for example, to the moon or to Mars. Is there any water there? Can life be sustained in outer space? I leave it to your imagination. Water exists in three states: solid (ice), liquid (water) and gas (vapor). What about our spiritual dimension? Spiritual health sustains us through all difficult times. Like water, it is essential in different forms, as each human being grows and changes. Time does not wait for anyone. Life has to go on.
Let us look at our spiritual life. Are we preparing ourselves to receive grace in one form or another from the “coming” events? As just one example: the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is one way of preparing. Open the closed egoistic heart to the freely flowing grace of God. People and events are not a problem – I myself am the problem if I am filled and overflowing with myself. When the self is gone, the grace of God will flow into the empty space. In my 22 years hearing confessions three times a week at St. Ignatius Church, the penitent leaves the confessional with a glow after the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We need to be vulnerable and break that self-preserving shell that we have made to protect ourselves. The best example is Jesus born in a manger. “There was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). Mary and Joseph decided the manger was a better place. We need to make the best of the situations and opportunities that come our way. Only when we are vulnerable is God’s grace sufficient (2 Cor. 12:10). “When I am weak, I am strong,” said St. Paul. Discover your weakest vulnerable point and make it your strength. We need discernment to have a fulfilled life. I say this often: “Life is a gift; time is a gift, the mystery of life.
Going beyond. A call to change. A person becomes open to the impossible. Pope Francis has been saying this constantly since his first visit outside Rome after becoming Pope - to the island of Lampedusa. Condemning “global indifference” to the plight of refugees and migrants, his challenge to the European heads of state led to their acceptance of refugees and migrants. Pope Francis said they are looking for “the freedom of the heart, to grow, to find and fulfill their call.” No one wanted to go to the rich neighboring countries where there is enough land and money. All life has to bloom where it is planted.
Advent prepares us for the inner freedom of the heart that we desire, and which Jesus is just waiting to give us. How about celebrating Christmas this year without giving any material gifts to people around you? Do you have the courage and strength not to give? Try it this year. Do not worry about what people will think or say about you. Do not give presents but PRESENCE to people around you. And learn to PUSH every day. P- Pray U-Until S- Something H-Happens.
All the best on your journey of life! God Bless!
By Fr. Valentine D’Souza, S.J.