A free heart where God can dwell

Quote of the Day
excerpt from chapter 2 of The Gift of Faith by Tadeusz Dajczer

And you, in whom or in what do you place your hope? What do you count on? Who is your God? If you place your hope in a false god, then you will know bitterness and disappointment, because it is a matter that sooner or later will disappoint you. This will be a great grace for you because then your trust in mammon will begin to crumble.

What can this mammon that enslaves your heart be? It can be material as well as spiritual goods. For example, it can be attachment to money, to your children, to you work, or to something you are presently creating or working on. It may be attachment to peace or even to one’s own perfection. All these attachments cause your bondage and bring you slavery. As a human being you can choose to attach yourself to the one and only reality — the will of God. Everything that enslaves you closes you off from God and diminishes your faith.

How can you uncover your mammon? Are the tension, stress, restlessness, rushing, and sadness that accompany you through life signs that you serve some kind of mammon? There are people, for example, who live under constant stress. How great then must be their attachment to something opposed to God. People free from attachments are filled with the peace of God. The peace of God builds and strengthens mental health, which in turn reflects on physical health. In this way, the soul, the psyche, and the body participate in a person’s great freedom. A person free form attachments is also free from facial wrinkles, from stress, and from the diseases of civilization. Mammon systematically destroys a human person. It not only blocks you way to Christ and your adherence to Him, but it also destroys your health and your psyche.

An obvious sign of attachments is also your sadness in situations when God takes something away from you. He will, therefore, take that to which you are enslaved; hence, He will take everything that is your greatest enemy — whatever causes your heart not to be free for Him. It is only when you start to cheerfully accept these kinds of situations, and submit with serenity, that you will become more and more free.

While standing before the Lord during prayer, show Him not only your empty hands, but also your dirty hands defiled by your attachments to mammon, and pray that He will have mercy on you. Prayer can develop only in the atmosphere of freedom. As a disciple of Christ, you are especially called to contemplative prayer. For your prayer to become contemplation — a loving gaze on Jesus Christ, your beloved — it is essential to have a free heart. That is why Christ fights so much for your heart to be free. He fights through various events, difficulties, and storms, all the while giving you the chance to cooperate intensely with grace. In all these situations, Christ expects that you will try to cleanse your heart soiled by attachments and servitude to mammon. Hence, all these difficult moments and all the storms are graces for you. They are the passing by of the Merciful Lord who loves you so much that He wants to give you the magnificent gift — the gift of the total freedom of your heart. Your heart should not be divided; it should be a heart solely for Him.

To have faith means to see and understand the meaning of your life in accordance with the Gospel, and that God is most important. Your life is to be oriented toward Him — primarily to seek and to build His kingdom, with faith that everything else will be given to you (cf. Mat 6:33). God wants to bestow each person with all His love. However, He can bestow this on a person only to the extent of his openness and his readiness to be stripped of his attachments so that room may be made for Him. It is faith that creates the emptiness and vacuum in us where God can dwell.

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Made for glory

In today’s scripture readings we begin with the faith of Father Abraham, who was called from his land and kinsfolk to a land which God would show him. Abraham walked in faith with the Lord. The New Testament reading gives us the courage we need, and the Gospel reading gives us a glimpse at what God has in store for us, if we journey in faith through this life, trust that our suffering has meaning, and endure in hope that one day we will see with new eyes the God whose presence is now veiled, hidden in our souls, in the Eucharist, in our neighbor, in all things. Knowing and remembering our destiny helps us persevere.

Questions of the Day

  • For what are you and I made?
  • Are you stuck in your old ways, or are you moving toward your destiny?
  • How will you find your way?

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament: Genesis 12:1–4a

The LORD said to Abram:
“Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk
and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.

“I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you.”

Abram went as the LORD directed him.

New Testament: 2 Timothy 1:8b–10

Beloved:
Bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

He saved us and called us to a holy life,
not according to our works
but according to his own design
and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but now made manifest
through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,
who destroyed death and brought life and immortality
to light through the gospel.

Gospel: Matthew 17:1–9 (The Transfiguration of Jesus)

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Mini-homily of the Day

Quote of the Day

Jesus transfigured on Mount Tabor wished to show His disciples His glory not to avoid their passing through the cross, but to indicate where the cross leads to. One who dies with Christ, will rise with Christ. And the cross is the door of the Resurrection. One who fights with Him, will triumph with Him. This is the message of hope contained in Christ’s Cross, exhorting to fortitude in our existence. The Christian Cross is not a furnishing of the home or an ornament to wear, but the Christian cross is an appeal to the love with which Jesus sacrificed Himself to save humanity from evil and from sin. In this Lenten Season, we contemplate with devotion the image of the crucifix, Jesus on the cross: it is the symbol of the Christian faith; it is the emblem of Jesus, dead and risen for us. Let us so regard the Cross as marking the stages of our Lenten itinerary, to understand increasingly the gravity of sin and the value of the sacrifice with which the Redeemer saved us all.
— Pope Francis, homily, March 12, 2017

Hope: anchor of my soul

Feast of Saint Anthony

Scripture of the Day: Hebrews 6:10–20

Inherit God’s promises through faith and patience

Brothers and sisters:
God is not unjust so as to overlook your work
and the love you have demonstrated for his name
by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones.
We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness
for the fulfillment of hope until the end,
so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who,
through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises.

When God made the promise to Abraham,
since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself,
and said, I will indeed bless you and multiply you.
And so, after patient waiting, Abraham obtained the promise.
Now, men swear by someone greater than themselves;
for them an oath serves as a guarantee
and puts an end to all argument.
So when God wanted to give the heirs of his promise
an even clearer demonstration of the immutability of his purpose,
he intervened with an oath,
so that by two immutable things,
in which it was impossible for God to lie,
we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged
to hold fast to the hope that lies before us.
This we have as an anchor of the soul,
sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil,
where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner,
becoming high priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.

Quote of the Day

The fragility of our trust in God; the fatigue of believing

To hope is a primary need of man: to hope in the future, to believe in life, so-called “positive thinking.”

However, it is important that such hope be placed in what can truly help us to live and to give meaning to our existence. It is because of this that Sacred Scripture puts us on guard against the false hopes that the world presents to us, unmasking their uselessness and showing their folly. And it does so in several ways, but especially by denouncing the falsity of idols, in which man is continually tempted to place his trust, making them the object of his hope.

The prophets and wise men insist on this in particular, touching a neuralgic point of the believer’s journey of faith. Because faith is to trust in God — one who has faith trusts in God —, but the moment comes when, running into the difficulties of life, man experiences the fragility of that trust and feels the need of different certainties, of tangible, concrete securities. I entrust myself to God, but the situation is quite bad and I need a certainty that is somewhat more concrete. And therein lies the danger! And then we are tempted to seek even ephemeral consolations, which seem to fill the emptiness of solitude and soothe the fatigue of believing. And we think we can find it in the security that money can give, in alliances with the powerful, in worldliness, in false ideologies. Sometimes we seek them in a god that can bow to our requests and intervene magically to change the reality and make it as we wish; an idol, in fact, that as such can do nothing, is impotent and a liar. But we like idols, we like them so much!

…The Lord is always mindful of us. He is also mindful of us in awful moments, and this is our hope, and hope does not disappoint — never, never. Idols always disappoint: they are fantasies, not reality. Behold the stupendous reality of hope: trusting in the Lord one becomes like Him, His blessing transforms us into His children, who share His life. Hope in God makes us enter, so to speak, in the ray of action of His remembrance, of His memory, which blesses us and saves us. And then an alleluia can burst forth, the praise of the living and true God, who was born for us of Mary, died on the cross and rose in glory. And we hope in this God, and this God — who is not an idol — never disappoints.

— Pope Francis’ General Audience, January 11, 2017