I left you (last week) with this thought:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ~ Romans 12:2
I wondered how this might be the key to letting God love me – and the key, in so receiving Real Love, to authentically loving myself and others in my ultimate joy. So… let me think…
I need to be transformed by the renewing of my mind… the renewing of my mind in Christ. Yes, this means that my way of looking at and thinking about things should not be worldly. We are in the world but not of the world. (That line, by the way, is a summation of verses in the Bible – not actually a Scriptural quote. And, yes, that surprised me!)
The key to becoming the person that I am created to be, the key to discerning and doing God’s will, the key to being fully loving and joyful, is in trying to see things – people, creatures, Creation, and all the situations of life – as God sees them.
I want to have eyes that see… that see the truth, the ways of goodness, the fullness of life – the Divine. And more than just seeing, I want to embrace them with all my heart.
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord!
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
We can see how heart and mind work as one within us…. So, I ask myself:
What do I think about most often?
What is in my heart?
Do my thoughts tend toward darkness or toward light?
Is my heart hardened by pride, my mind blinded by sin? Yes, sometimes it is, I admit….
“Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” ~ Luke 11:34-35
If I live as a prideful person, self-centered, then I will only want to take and not to give. I can’t experience real love this way because the sin of pride would harden my heart to God and to my fellow human beings as I would become consumed with objectifying others, with possessing and dominating. The materialistic ways of the world can lead me into sin and away from God’s love and my truest joy. I mustn’t let the darkness of envy, greed, lust, and destructive anger into my heart…
“Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth)” ~ Ephesians 5:7-14
I cannot let the darkness of the world win me over – for, in Christ, I am a child of the Light! So, if I walk in the Light, then my mind and my heart will be turned toward God and I may, then, be able to see as God sees and love as God loves. In order to know God’s will and to do it, I must turn away from selfishness and sin.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” ~ Psalms 51:10
Only through acknowledging and repenting my sins can my heart be made tender and receptive again, by the mercy of God, opening my eyes and renewing my mind. Only through continual humility and Divine Mercy cleansing my heart of sin will I be able to be transformed by the spirit of Christ within me to recognize and desire God’s love and the joy of virtue in doing God’s will.
“My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways…” ~ Proverbs 23:26
To sum up, I take St. Paul’s closing words to the Philippians to my heart. Here, I believe, is the stuff of healthy minds and pure hearts, of virtuous living. Here is trust in the Lord and joyful gratitude. Here is the goodness of being alive here and now and knowing that the Lord is near. Here is the peace and joy that Christ Jesus brings to those who “have the mind of Christ” allowing God to renew and make pure their hearts…
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!”
(Did you get that?)
“Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
When I am weary, when I am wandering in darkness, when I am discouraged or disgusted in the mean and greedy ways of the world, may I think about all that is lovely, all that is gracious, all that is honorable and worthy of praise. May I turn my heart and mind to God and to what God has lovingly brought into being. May my very life be a song of praise, as I ponder in my heart the love and beauty of the Divine…. And as I am made new by God, let me give myself wholeheartedly to others in the selflessness of real love, sharing God’s love with them.
In case you were wondering, the quote that I chose for my bedroom wall are the words of Jesus as recorded by St. Matthew, chapter 5, verse 8:
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
© 2017 Christina Chase
3 1 Corinthians 2:16
 Ephesians 1:18
Although crippled by disease, I am fully alive in love. I write about the profound wonder and terrible beauty of life while living with physical disability and severe dependency. Unafraid to ask life's big questions, I was briefly an atheist and considered other religions before finding, in God's choice to intimately share our humanity, what it truly means to be fully human. A revert to the Catholic Faith, I blog weekly and have written a book called It's Good to Be Here.