A MATTER OF HEARTS
READ: Ezekiel 36:26,27
“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of hardened stone from within you and in its place give you a heart of living flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My commandments, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” – Ezekiel 36:26,27
I call her my Lady Grey. She is a stone angel who resides on the grounds of Greyfriars’ Abbey, a silent counselor who often listens to the whisperings of my soul. She is beautiful and she is lovely, and she provides for me a certain grace for my confession. But alas … she is but silent stone. And there are those times … when my confession needs an angel of a more living kind, a human angel in whom both an understanding humanity and a blessed divinity do reside together. And I am so thankful … that through my many years, many of these angels of a more human kind have come my way.
I love how Ezekiel on behalf of God explains the problem of our own sinfulness and the process of gracious salvation … the sinfulness? … he speaks of the heart of hardened stone … and the salvation? … he refers to a new heart, a living, very human heart, and a new spirit … a very Divine Spirit.
The rough-and-tumble experiences of life can harden the human heart … sometimes suddenly in reaction to a tragic moment, but far more often, in a slow hardening of the heart that takes place almost unnoticed over time: battle by battle, disappointment by disappointment, fear by fear, criticism by criticism, cut by cut, rejection by rejection, abandonment by abandonment, and our wounded retreats from them all. Our hearts, the compassionate aspect of our humanity, can become quite calloused and scarred in our pilgrimage through life. The rough roads and the weathering storms can have its wear and tear on a once sensitive soul. This hardened heart is often formed in the manner ancient wood is slowly petrified into rock. Cell by cell, that which was vulnerably alive is replaced by drops of mineral-ed waters, that slowly, relentlessly, turn our mortal flesh into invulnerable stone.
Yet … there is a grace, a certain marvelous, miraculous grace that repairs the heart, even more, renews and restarts the heart … it is the gift of the Christ-experience, where the life-breath and the heartbeat of God becomes One with our own life-breath and heartbeat, where we receive the breath of Gd’s Spirit and the heart of God’s love, all together, creating the Christ-life, a life both human and divine.
In my days as revival preacher, I would use the term …. “surrender your life over to God“. A fair enough phrase to explain what we as human souls must do to allow our lives to be renewed by God’s grace. But nowadays, I use the phrase … “allow the whole of your life to be completely filled with the life-transforming Love of God“. Maybe … an easy phrase to parrot in the midst of a Christian crowd, but not so easy to authentically do in a most personal way in the presence of God alone … but it is a most necessary beginning in the transforming of a life and in the creation of a Christian disciple. In your way … whatever way that might be for you … ask God to renew your life, both heart and breath, so that the human and the divine might live together in you … as One.
Brother Anthony of the Cross
If you would like a pdf of The Rule of Saint Benedict, click here … http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/0480-0547,_Benedictus_Nursinus,_Regola,_EN.pdf
Remember that it was written 1600 years ago and so much of life has changed since then … yet so much has remained the same.