30 April 2020

30 April, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day

The Divided Heart

1. To whom does your heart belong? To the devil, perhaps? It may be that you have allowed him to insinuate himself into your soul, so that you have fallen under his tyranny and are trying to find happiness in the satisfaction of your lower impulses. Remember the warning of St. Paul: “If anyone destroys the temple of God, him will God destroy; for holy is the temple of God and this temple you are.” (1 Cor. 3:17) If you have fallen this low, you will suffer the penalty decreed by the Holy Spirit: “There is no peace to the wicked.” (Is. 48:22) You expected to find satisfaction, and you have found disillusionment. You hoped for peace and found remorse. Instead of the happiness you expected you will know only despair unless you turn back to God immediately. There is only one way out of your predicament, the way chosen by the prodigal son: “I will get up and go to my father.” (Luke 15:18) Rise up, then, and cast yourself into the merciful arms of your heavenly Father Who is waiting for you. There you will find that peace of soul which will remain with you until you die. If you never allow your heart to be separated from God again, this peace will flower into eternal happiness in the next life.

2. Even if your heart has not become the property of the devil and retains a horror of mortal sin, it is still possible that you have not given it completely to God. Your heart is divided. Part of it belongs to God and part of it to the world. You are distracted by your own self-love and earthly desires. A heart which is divided in its affections between God and the world is dazzled by everything around it and tends to forget God more and more. We protest that we belong entirely to God, but in practice we are so absorbed by work, ambition, and pleasure, that we neglect God. A man who is torn between love of God and love of the world is like Cain who, unlike Abel, did not offer God the best part of his flock but kept this for himself and offered God whatever he had rejected. God was pleased with Abel's sacrifice but had no regard for that of Cain, who finally became a murderer and was cursed by his Creator. Do we offer God the leavings of life while we keep the best part of it for ourselves? Do we think of ourselves nearly all the time and give very little thought to God? This is not the way in which God has dealt with us. Not only has He created us, but He loves us with an everlasting love. He came down on earth and lived as our fellow-man. He redeemed us by His Precious Blood and gave Himself to us as our spiritual food. Why are we not willing to give ourselves to Him forever in return? Gratitude demands that we should do so. God, moreover, is our supreme and only good.

3. Remember Our Lord's warning that it is impossible to serve two masters. We cannot serve God and at the same time be preoccupied with self-love, worldly pleasure, and sin. Look at the Saints. Their hearts were never divided but belonged wholly to God. They did everything in their power to keep their hearts pure and burning with love for Him. They suffered because of their slightest imperfections and longed to remain always close to God. We should imitate them. We have to look after our daily duties, it is true, but everything should be done for the love and glory of God. All our actions should constitute a spiritual ladder which brings us closer and closer to God.

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