How important to really set our heart right! And that’s because the heart in the end is where the true condition of our life can be found. Are we good or not so good? Are we properly focused or are we already going astray? These questions can be answered if we know the real condition of our heart.
We can base these assertions on what Christ said about our heart. For example, he said, “But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his 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 7,20-23)
Reiterating the same idea, he also said: “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Lk 6,45)
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. That is why God always begs us, “My child, give me your heart, and let your eyes delight in my ways.” (Prov 23,26)
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.
We need to conquer our heart to channel the very heart of Christ who is the pattern of our humanity. How important therefore that we learn to engage the heart with the right treasure, the ultimately genuine one, the one that lasts forever, and not the many pseudo-treasures that the world offers.
This, of course, requires some effort, and even gargantuan effort, because the human heart is actually very difficult to read, let alone manage. It can be tricky and very slippery to handle. St. Augustine’s words can come in handy here:
“Man is a great deep, Lord.” he said. “You number his very hairs and they are not lost in your sight. But the hairs of his head are easier to number than his affections and the movements of his heart.”
How true! One of the big challenges of our life is to know how to read our heart, that is to say, to know who and how we really are at every step of our life. Oftentimes, our self-knowledge is far off the mark. We are usually affected by all kinds of conditionings, such that our self-knowledge is more subjective than objective.
Obviously to get a handle on our heart, we need to go to God. Our human estimations can never be enough. They can even be dangerous, since they are often very limited and, worse, biased. We have to be wary of the powerful pull these worldly and human estimations can exert on us.*