Study: Reflect on a time when you struggled with something in the privacy of your heart. What helped you?
Pray: Ask the Lord for the grace and healing you need to fight the challenges within you.
Serve: Perhaps you know someone who is facing a difficult time alone. How might you reach out?
Listen to the Lord’s words to the people in this Sunday’s Gospel:
He summoned the crowd again and said to them,
“Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.
“From within people, from their hearts,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.” Mark 7: 14-15,21-23
We see the effects of sin on the outside in the words and actions that are evident through observation and experience. Yet the Lord reminds us that the origin of our sin begins within the human heart, and it is there that the battle rages.
We can cloak our lives, guarding our speech and hiding our actions, yet eventually the pattern of our soul emerges through our interactions with one another. Only God clearly sees our hearts, and it is to the Lord that we turn to:
- Recognize the role of sin in our hearts
- Call upon God for the grace we need to be made whole
- Live our lives in freedom from sin, guided by the Holy Spirit
- Renew our strength through Sacraments, Scripture, Fellowship, and Prayer
Because our hearts are hidden from view, it is crucial that we take time for reflection and prayer to review the state of our souls. Some powerful tools to help us:
- A good Examination of Conscience
- A visit to the Confessional
- Frequent attendance at Mass and reception of Holy Communion
- Personal Prayer
- Someone to whom we are accountable for our thoughts, words, and actions
May we pause to look honestly at our hearts, and call upon Jesus Christ for the grace we need to fight the battle within!