The Heart

To be happy, what you need is not an easy life but a heart which is in love.

After twenty centuries, we have to proclaim with complete conviction that the spirit of Christ has not lost its redemptive force, which alone can satisfy the desires of the human heart. —Begin by feeding that truth into your own heart, which will be perpetually restless, as Saint Augustine wrote, for as long as you don’t place it entirely in God.

To love is… to cherish but one thought, to live for the person loved, not to belong to oneself, to be happily and freely, with one’s heart and soul, subjected to another’s will… and at the same time to one’s own.

You still do not love the Lord as a miser loves his riches, as a mother loves her child… You are still too concerned about yourself and about your petty affairs! And yet you have noticed that Jesus has already become indispensable in your life…

—Well, as soon as you correspond completely to his call, he will also be indispensable to you in each one of your actions.

Cry aloud — for that cry is the folly of one in love: “Lord, even though I love you… don’t trust me! Bind me to yourself, more closely every day!”

Don’t doubt it: the heart has been created to love. Let us therefore bring Our Lord Jesus Christ into all the love that we feel. Otherwise, the empty heart takes revenge and fills itself up with the most despicable vileness.

There is no heart more human than that of a person overflowing with supernatural sense. Think of Holy Mary, who is full of grace, Daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son, Spouse of God the Holy Spirit. Her Heart has room for all humanity and makes no distinction or discrimination. —Every person is her son or her daughter.

When someone has a very small heart, it seems as if he keeps his desires in a narrow, neglected drawer.

Each day you must behave to those around you with great understanding, with great affection, together, of course, with all the energy needed. Otherwise understanding and affection become complicity and selfishness.

That friend of ours with no false humility used to say: “I haven’t needed to learn how to forgive, because the Lord has taught me how to love.”

Forgiveness. To forgive with one’s whole heart and with no trace of a grudge will always be a wonderfully fruitful disposition to have!

—That was Christ’s attitude on being nailed to the Cross: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they are doing.” From this came your salvation and mine.

You were very sorry to hear that most un-Christian comment, “Forgive your enemies: you can’t imagine how it angers them!”

—You could not keep quiet, and you replied calmly, “I don’t want to cheapen love by humiliating my neighbour. I forgive, because I love, and I am hungry to imitate the Master.”

Carefully avoid anything that can hurt other people’s hearts.

Out of ten ways of saying No, why must you always choose the most disagreeable? —Virtue has no wish to hurt.

Look: we have to love God not only with our heart, but with His, and with the hearts of all humanity throughout time… Otherwise, we should fall short of corresponding to his Love.

It distresses me to see those who have given themselves to God giving the impression that they are old bachelors, or allowing themselves to be taken for such, since they possess the Love beyond all loves. —They would be old bachelors indeed if they did not know how to love the One who loves so much.

Someone has compared the heart to a windmill, moved by the wind of love, of passion…

Indeed, that “windmill” can grind wheat, barley or dried dung. —It is up to us!

The devil, father of lies and victim of his own pride, tries to imitate the Lord even in the way he seeks converts. Have you noticed that in the same way as God makes use of men to save souls and lead them to holiness, so does satan use other people to impede that work and even to bring them to ruin? And — don’t be frightened — in the same way as Jesus seeks those who were nearest, relatives, friends or colleagues to be instruments, the devil also often attempts to get the people we love most to lead us into evil.

That is why, if the bonds of blood-relationship tie us down and hinder us from following the ways of God, we should cut them promptly. And perhaps your resolve will also release others who were being entangled in the nets of Lucifer.

I give you thanks, my Jesus, for your decision to become perfect Man, with a Heart which loved and is most lovable; which loved unto death and suffered; which was filled with joy and sorrow; which delighted in the things of men and showed us the way to Heaven; which subjected itself heroically to duty and acted with mercy; which watched over the poor and the rich and cared for sinners and the just…

—I give you thanks, my Jesus. Give us hearts to measure up to Yours!

Ask Jesus to grant you a Love like a purifying furnace, where your poor flesh — your poor heart — may be consumed and cleansed of all earthly miseries. Pray that it may be emptied of self and filled with him. Ask him to grant you a deep-seated aversion to all that is worldly so that you may be sustained only by Love.

You have seen very clearly your vocation to love God, but only with your head. You assure me that you have put your heart into the way you are following. But you say that you are distracted at times, and even attempt to look back. That is a sign that you have not completely put your heart into it. You need to be more sensitive!

The Master said: “I have come to set a man at variance with his father, and the daughter with her mother, and the daughter-in-law with her mother-in-law…” If you fulfil what he demands of you, you will show you really love them. That is why you must not use the whole-hearted affection you should have for them as a shield when the moment comes for personal sacrifice. Otherwise, believe me, you will be putting love for your parents before the love of God. And you will be putting your own self-love before love for your parents.

—Do you now understand more deeply the relevance of those words of the Gospel?

The heart! From time to time, without your being able to help it, your all too human memory casts a crude, unhappy, “uncouth” shadow on your mind.

Go to the tabernacle immediately, at least in spirit, and you will return to light, happiness and Life.

The frequency of our visits to the Lord is in proportion to two factors: faith and the involvement of the heart; seeing the truth and loving it.

Love is also strengthened by self-denial and mortification.

If you had a big heart and were a bit more sincere you would not be troubled by feelings of mortification over little things — nor would you use them to mortify other people.

Sometimes it is a duty to feel annoyed; sometimes it is a weakness. But let it last only for a few minutes. Moreover, make sure there is always charity there: affection!

You may often have to tell someone off… But you should be teaching him how to correct a defect, never merely giving vent to your bad temper.

When you need to correct someone, it should be done clearly and with kindness, even with a smile if that is suitable. It should never, or very seldom, be overpowering.

Do you feel as if goodness and absolute truth have been deposited with you, and therefore that you have been invested with a personal title or right to uproot evil at all costs?

—You will never solve anything like that, but only through Love and with love, remembering that Love has forgiven you and still forgives you so much!

Love good people because they love Christ… —Love those too who do not love him, because of this misfortune, and especially because Christ loves both kinds of people.

The people of that land, so far away from God and lost, reminded you of the Master’s words: “They are like sheep without a shepherd.”

—And you too were filled with a strong feeling of compassion deep within you… Make up your mind, where you are now, to give your life as a holocaust for all.

A friend of ours used to say: “The poor are my best spiritual book and the main motive of my prayers. It pains me to see them, and in each one of them, Christ. And because it hurts, I realise I love him and love them.”

If the love of God is put into friendships, they are cleansed, reinforced and spiritualised, because all the dross, all the selfish points of view and excessively worldly considerations are burned away. Never forget that the love of God puts our affections in order, and purifies them without diminishing them.

The thought of what has happened to you burns within you. Christ came to you when you were only a miserable leper! Until then, you had developed only one good quality, a generous concern for others. After that encounter you were given the grace to see Jesus in them, you fell in love with him, and now you love him in them… Now the altruism that used to impel you to help your neighbour in certain ways seems very small. You are right to think so!

Get accustomed to entrusting your poor heart to the Sweet and Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that she may purify it from so much dross, and lead it to the Most Sacred and Most Merciful Heart of Jesus.

References to Holy Scripture
References to Holy Scripture
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