“Have a Firm Heart”

In his daily Mass yesterday, Pope Francis encouraged people to “have a firm heart, fixed on the Holy Spirit”.  How many of us find this difficult, but instead are swayed by every passing change, trial, or happiness in our lives. I don’t know about you, but I often subconsciously think that if I let our Lord truly be the center of my life, my heart, and let the Holy Spirit guide me, then my “fun” will be all over. I fear that He will see my attachments to things and strip them away from me, and I will be left living a life of abject misery with no joy. However, when we’re so focussed on holding onto something, it can get in the way of us truly enjoying it, because all we’re thinking about is “what if I lose it”. In surrendering all our dreams, and our hearts to our Lord, we place them in the hands of a Father who is love itself; a Father who wants to give us the whole world, but we’re too-busy to receive it because our hands are full of the fleeting pleasures we want.

Let go, though, let go, because even those fleeting pleasures will be returned to you (if they are good, and contribute to your true happiness and virtue) – except because they are now from God they will no longer be fleeting, but having been tested in His purifying love will be strong and endure. Then we can enjoy them without fear of losing them, but resting in the gift that He has given us.

Underlying all of this is the tinge of sadness that recognises that life in this world is fleeting, and good things come and go. However, that should encourage us to accept the sorrow with Whiteface_Mountainthe joy; take each moment as it comes and let those joyous moments take us to the top of the nearest mountain. However, don’t become despondent when life looks bleak and a secret sorrow burrows into your heart; have faith in a loving Father, and know that just as the Crucifixion and death of our Lord lasted for a finite time, so too, will your sorrow pass away. And we really only appreciate the deep joys when we have also known the dark valleys. Many years ago, a priest said something that, as a young child really sunk in, and I’ve never forgotten: “without Good Friday there would be no Easter Sunday”. Obvious, yet something that continually revolutionises my experience of suffering, as well as joy. When we are going through a valley, that means there must be a mountain up ahead.

Let us pray, that as Pope Francis exhorts us, we will have firm hearts, resting in the Spirit. So that come what may, we will move forward in the assurance that we are loved, and so share that love with others. Then, like St. Paul, we will be able to share the Love of God with all those around us, and hopefully bring many more to know that same Love!

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