Put your heart into it:
The exceptional presence of the Prophet Jonah moves the wayward people of Nineveh to repentance and penitence- “by their actions they turn from their evil way.” The only thing that they needed to concentrate on was their love for God and love for each other. They chose to put their hearts into it. God in his love for them accepted their repentance and penitence and relented on the punishment he had planned for them.
It is the presence of Jesus that transforms each of our own lives, too, and in different ways. In the Gospel, Mary chose a life of perfect contemplation, the act of looking at something/someone thoughtfully for a long time. Her only thought was her love for Jesus. Mary put her heart into it. Yet Martha, “worried about many things,” needed to realize that all her busyness and activity could also be unified by the one thing necessary—love for Jesus. There is need of only one thing.
Life is good, so you should put your heart into everything you do. Sometimes we tell ourselves that life is not good right now, but it will get better. We may spend our whole lives waiting to live. We risk not fully accepting the reality of our present lives. Meanwhile we don’t put our hearts sufficiently into today, and so we miss graces we should be receiving. Let us live each moment to the fullest. Let us put our hearts into it.
To live today well, we also should remember that God only asks for one thing at a time, never two. We must put our hearts into it, simply and calmly, and not try to solve more than one problem at a time. If something, no matter how ordinary, needs to be done and is part of our lives, it’s worth doing for its own sake, and worth putting our hearts into.
Deacon Peter Smith serves at St. Mary’s/Holy Family Parish in Alabama, a religion teacher at Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School in Birmingham, and a member of our extended Passionist Family.