What if, upon your death, instead of a photograph of your face and biographical information about your earthly life, there appeared instead a picture of your heart, and only what you had done for love of God and to further His Kingdom was written? What would yours say?
Leading up to Advent, the daily Mass readings were all about “the end times.” Why? Because Advent is all about The New Beginning.
We can read those apocalyptic writings and get discouraged or we can read them as a beautiful reminder that our days on earth are numbered and that God gives us each breath as a gift. He told Adam this: “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19.
Why not take this Advent, the “New Beginning,” as an opportunity to look inside of your heart and see what is really there? Do you find love? Compassion? Joy? Peace? Patience? Goodness? Faithfulness? Gentleness? Self Control? Virtues such as purity, hope and fortitude?
If not, ask God for them! God longs to give us these virtues and the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) even more than we desire to have them. He is the Great Physician and gives excellent heart transplants. If you look into yours, and you don’t find what you are looking for, turn it into Him and ask for a new one--one that looks more like His.
How amazing is our God? He is ever new, ever faithful, ever longing for our delight to be Him. And the only way that will ever happen is if we have hearts that look like His.
This Advent, take advantage of the “Do Over” God is offering to each of us through the birth of His Son. It's our opportunity for a RE-birth. Jesus did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people alive. Give to Him your heart of stone and ask Him for a heart of flesh-- one full of the goodness of Him--in order to offer it right back to Him as a loving gift of thanks for all He has done for you.
“I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you so that you walk in my statutes, observe my ordinances, and keep them. You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.” Ezekiel 36:26-28
I want a heart that looks like yours. I want to be full of virtue and all of the fruit of the Spirit. I want fullness of life, to love and to serve you more, but I know this can only come as a gift of grace from You. This Advent, take my heart, in all of its stoniness, and replace it with a heart of flesh that beats in unison with Yours. Open my eyes to see new and creative ways to love and serve You more by loving and serving those around me. Take my life Lord, and make it pleasing to You in this season of newness and joy.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.