February, for me, is all about matters of the heart! With Valentine’s Day, National Heart Awareness Month, a scheduled visit to my cardiologist and the Lenten call to heartfelt repentance all converging this month, it’s a good time for me to consider the wisdom in todays responsorial, Psalm 51.
"A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn."
God’s acceptance of my contrite and humbled heart is indeed a miracle of grace and mercy. Getting my heart to a state of contrition and humility is not easy. Experiencing the passion of Jesus in my life and the lives of others is for me, a path to a contrite and humbled heart. All I have to do is remember how "vulnerable" I felt after heart surgery. (For example, I cried while I watched a re-run of "True Grit" with John Wayne.) To be vulnerable is not just to be weak, but to be open to new possibilities for experiencing God’s love.
"A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me."
However, it’s not enough just to feel vulnerable and humble; one also must remain open to God’s creative Spirit working within this moment of grace to create something wonderful and new! This is not just a time for easy tears but an invitation to a new resolve in my life, a "steadfast spirit". With Lent in the background, it’s a time to sacrifice my pride and offer my heart to the Lord.
"My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite sprit, a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn."
My prayer today is that God will create a new heart within me and all of us, one which is led by the Spirit, aligned with the poor, oppressed and powerless of our world, and forever thankful for God’s mercy in my life.
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of our Passionist Family who volunteers at the Passionist Assisted Living Community in Louisville, Kentucky.