Spiritual thought on Our Lady’s exhortation “Renew your heart”

SOURCE: Fr. Livio’s Blog

Dear friends, let us take the exhortation of the Queen of Peace ” Renew your heart “, with which she opened the message of February 25, 2024.

This invitation means making our heart new, therefore it means – also in the perspective of the Lenten season – seeing the situation of our heart in the light of God. From a spiritual point of view and of our relationship with God, the situation of our heart in Biblical perspective is the spiritual, moral and decision-making center of man. In the Bible there are two expressions to indicate the inner center of man, in his depth and in his ability to make decisions before God, and they are the heart and the soul. The Bible speaks of the heart rather than the soul, but in the Christian tradition there are both of these components. We are more used to talking about the heart but the soul is that reality that God created and which is immortal; therefore, when our body dies we continue to exist.

We must, therefore, look at our situation of soul and heart before God. In this regard there are messages from the Queen of Peace to Mirjana in which Our Lady said that she looks at us and sees our dirty and filthy hearts. It is a very severe message that can make many reflect on the fact that it is not the external practice that is decisive before God. In Sacred Scripture and the Old Testament it is written that God does not look at appearances but at our hearts. We must ask for God’s grace, in prayer, to look at our heart as He sees it. We try to hide evil, to remove it, to cover it, to silence the voice of conscience that reproaches us but in doing so we do not change; indeed, we accumulate evil until our conscience no longer remorses, because it has been completely silenced.

Therefore, we must have this willingness in humility to kneel down and say to God: “Lord, help me to understand what situation I am in, give me Your light, let me see myself in Your light so that I can see my sins and grant me the grace of seeing Your mercy.” If we could only see our sins we would have a destructive attitude towards ourselves, because evil is depressive and corrosive by nature, but seen in the light of divine mercy we can find a path to healing. It is an immense grace to be able to feel like sinners, to feel dirty, that we need to clean ourselves. Otherwise, we would create a false consciousness. This is the grace that King David had after committing very serious sins. He composed the Psalm “From the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord, listen to my voice”, it is the voice of a person who has seen the evil that he did not see before because he was blinded. When Nathan came to reprimand him, King David did not understand what he had done, but after explaining it to him, his eyes were opened.

This is the grace we must ask for: that the scales fall from our eyes, because this is how the renewal of the heart begins. Seeing our sins in the light of God, seeing the evil that destroys us, the evil that ruins our lives, the evil that is an abyss that drags us deeper and deeper. Evil is a gluttony that envelops us, suffocates us and by grace we can get out of it, but we need to start identifying it.

Asking ourselves what state our heart is in is the first question. The second is to ask ourselves who inhabits our heart. If our heart is prey to sin, to serious vices, therefore it is full of snakes and scorpions (to use biblical language) and weeds, then we must put ourselves in the perspective of asking ourselves why our heart has become like this. We must understand that there was a whole strategy of the devil to expel God from the heart, who lived there when he was in a state of grace. The devil’s strategy has led us into lukewarmness, into spiritual disarmament, he has introduced sins until he himself has entered our hearts. It is an abusive occupation because the heart of man was created to be inhabited by the Holy Trinity, but the devil wants to dislodge God from our heart with sin, live there himself and become the master of our life. The devil wants to suck our life, lead us to perdition, lead us astray from the right path, make us become in his image. We do not see how – even externally – we see the occupation of the heart by evil, from the malice we express, from the language we use, from the gestures we make, from the actions we perform, we see the evil fruits of the heart polluted by evil. We ask God to give us the grace to see the evil within us so we can heal.

How do we heal from the evil that is within us? Just as when we go to the doctor to show the wound so that he can give us medicine, so we must show the sins of our heart to the doctor of souls who is Jesus Christ, show them to Him so that he can heal them. Jesus can eradicate the vices, the wickedness, the poisons of our heart, with the grace of the Holy Spirit. He gives us the grace of him that enters our heart, awakens our conscience, gives a look of truth to our eyes and strengthens our will in the decision to change. The light that illuminates and makes sin visible is a preliminary step, but then the problem is resolved with the will. The grace we ask for acts on the will that decides to open the heart to God, to leave sin, to change one’s life or that is strengthened in taking a step forward on the path of holiness.

In the end, what matters are the decisions. There are three precise decisions that lead to Easter with a renewed heart: the decision to open the heart to the light of God and divine mercy, therefore the decision to question one’s own situation, opening up to God and being illuminated by His light; the decision to leave sin, a fundamental step that materializes in confession where the sins are presented to divine mercy and one is forgiven; the decision to purify the heart, a step forward on the path to holiness. Once the heart has been purified with confession, one is still very weak, as in the Gospel that when a person is freed from the devil, he goes into the desert to look for the seven deadly sins and enters the house, which if not guarded, is defeated.

The decision to detach oneself from evil, to cut off the roots of evil and the heads of the little snakes of the capital sins, must be accompanied day by day with a work of purification of the heart. In this way, the will becomes increasingly stronger, more decisive, the love for God, for virtue, for holiness grows in us which is a great incentive in daily fatigue, where we have to fight against the bad tendencies that are in us , against the world and against the devil. Purification is an equally painful journey, but also joyful because the practice of good gives joy.

As the Queen of Peace teaches us, the third step is to give the heart to God, an open, cleansed, purified heart, confirmed in the decision to be a temple of God. If God, through Jesus Christ and Mary, gives us His heart and His love we too must give our heart, that is, decide within ourselves to grow in the love of God above all else. Within this love, there is also love for our neighbor, that is, giving to our neighbor in all the possibilities that life offers us that love that God gives to us.

Taking this journey in orientation towards Easter is a journey of holiness, they are the three stages: confession, purification and union with God. The three stages of the path on which all of us, Apostles of Mary, must be walking.

Renewing our heart therefore means bringing to maturity all those seeds that we have sown since the beginning of Lent.

From: “Christian reading of news and history”