Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Set Free our Hearts

St Basil the Great says "One cannot approach the knowledge of the truth with a disturbed heart. Therefore we must try to avoid everything that disturbs our heart, that causes forgetfulness, excitement or passion, or that awakens unrest. We must free ourselves as much as possible from all fuss and flutter and ado over vain things. Yes when we serve the Lord we shall not be 'troubled about many things, but always keep in mind that one thing is needful' Luke (10:41)"

Tito Colliander, author of Way of the Ascetics, comments on this by saying "In order to bathe, one must first undress. So it is with the heart: it must be set free from the world's outer covering in order to be accessible to the Cleanser."

What are we holding onto that is so important where it stand between us and God? Some people may struggle with material things, careers, friendships (attachments), etc. I feel that these are problems that need to be addressed, but can be dealt with. The bigger problem is not the outside attachments to any of these, but underneath the shell, where the heart lays, is the most delicate, yet dangerous tool of all. Material things and all entailed are not the problem. "For the love of money is the root of all evil..." 1Timothy 6:10.

It is rooted deep in our hearts our most precious love. That is why St Basil says that we need to free what it is in our hearts before approaching God. Not only to empty our hearts, but to be honest with ourselves about our passions.

When we approach God, with a full heart, black heart, open heart, closed heart, etc.. He will always be willing to accept us. It is up to us to be willing to "take off the old man and put on the new one".

How is it that we struggle so much to give God so little, and He has worked all of time to get us back to where we were originally supposed to be, with Him.

This cleansing of the heart is not only going to help us spiritually, but in everyday life. I heard an old saying that goes ''You may hold my hand for a while, but my heart forever." We cannot expect God to just be there when we need Him, to hold our hands to get us out of a mess (even though He will anyway). But we need to learn to give Him our heart forever rather than a temporary fix out of a problem.

As Ruth said to her mother, we must be willing to do so to God.
"Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you will die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts you and me"

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