Thursday, January 24, 2013

A New Heart - Part I

The theme for the Women's Day of Reflection that I attended over the weekend was "A New Heart".  I'm not sure why, but attendance was down this year, and everyone should hear what we heard!  Because I wish you were there, and want you to know that Christ loves you, and encourage you in your walk with Him, I'll do my best to recap here...

A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my ordinances, and do them.  And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers and you shall be my people and I will be your God.
~Ezekiel 36:26-29

For his first talk, Fr. Scott Reilly, LC led us toward the goal of understanding that Jesus is in love with each one of us.  Although, we will never comprehend fully the heart of Jesus.  That's what Heaven is about - discovering the heart of Jesus."

1.  "Jesus is close to us, because love is always loving.  It never takes a break."

2.  "Jesus' love is not in a vacuum.  It is not oblivious.  However, this is a perpetual temptation for us.  We enjoy this temptation because we - circle around it, consider it, nibble on it, get hooked on it, and finally embrace the lie that Jesus doesn't care."

3.  Jesus commands us, "DON'T LET YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED."  It is not a suggestion.  We cannot connect with Jesus if we are troubled.  We need to give our troubles to him.  How do we know when we've done that?  We won't "have" them anymore.  We have peace.  We must not let our hearts be troubled, because it is a choice.  Worrying is a choice, and it is a sin against hope. 

4.  When Christ touches us, as he did when he healed Simon Peter's mother, we rise up with love and energy, and we serve.

5.  Jesus didn't heal people en masse.  Every single person is different.  Their needs are different.  He touches us individually.

6.  When we think (or say to ourselves), "God doesn't hear my prayer", we need to follow it with "Buck up, girl!  That's from the devil!"

For his second talk, Fr. Scott explored three aspects of Jesus' heart.

1.  Simplicity.  Christ has a simple heart.  He can answer every cry with, "I forgive you." and "I love you."  "We don't owe anything to Jesus.  He paid the debt.  He loves us unconditionally.  We cannot destroy or diminish His love.  This love is independent of our merits or demerits."  With Christ, there is no second-guessing.  No complications.  No conniving.  An understanding of eternity brings simplicity.  What is anything compared with eternity?  Simplicity is about depth and is a shield that protects us from the complication of satan.  We only need one thing.  A TRUST button.  Push it and doors will open to you.

2.  Gratitude.  We celebrate extremes in our culture.  Let's practice extreme gratitude.  When we're grateful, we're much more aware of God.  When we're aware of God, He can act.

3.  Courage.  John 13 - Jesus' agony in the garden.  Knowing all that was to come, He got up and met Judas and the soldiers, and said to them, "Whom are you looking for?"  Courage comes from prayer.  People who pray are the most courageous people on earth.  All things are possible with God.  We need to pray at the beginning of each day and nourish our hearts with the Living Word of God, the Bible.  This will fortify our hearts.  If we don't do this, we can easily be fed with the stuff of the world.

If we can embrace the new heart that Jesus continually offers, the conversations in your life may go something like this (based on conversation between Claudia Procula and her servant girl, Dinah):

C:  "You've changed.  You're different."
D:  "Yes.  I've changed."
C:  "What happened?"
D:  "Jesus gave me a new heart."

In my next post, I will review four ways to honor and preserve the gift of a new heart...

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the Women's Day of Reflection.  Thank you for Fr. Scott.  Thank you for Linda Frost-Clark and her insightful portrayal of Claudia, Pontius Pilate's wife.  Thank you for all of the Regnum Christi women who worked tirelessly to deliver this day for You and for souls.  Thank you for letting me participate, absorb, and contribute in  moments, days, and weekends filled with spiritual nourishment.  They are food for my soul.  I love You and I am eternally grateful for the glimpses of You I have already received and for those to come.  Amen.

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