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Monday, March 01, 2010

The Desire of Your Heart

This evening I was watching EWTN and Tim Staples revealed a portion of scripture I have often pondered:

"Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."  
~  Psalm 37:4

Tonight, Tim said that his own spiritual director used this Psalm and repeated it with another meaning: "The Lord will give you the desires of your heart. But FIRST the Lord will give you the desires of YOUR heart!"

Look at the Psalm as revealed in the New Testament:

 "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." 
 ~ Matthew 6:21

To take this in context is to circle back and look to the Lord for happiness, for the desires of our hearts.  It is clear that if we DELIGHT in the LORD He will give us the desires of our hearts.

Last summer when I visited convents and monasteries, I was asked, "What do YOU want?"

What they were really asking, in Biblical terms was, "What do you DELIGHT in? WHO do you delight in?"

I think back to my high school class in Humanities, having to memorize Shakespeare, a fun task for me which was a labor of love. I recall learning from Hamlet:

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! and yet,
to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me,
nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.

We all DELIGHT in something or someONE.  We all at some point, have to come to a realization as to what this means.

When I consider that question, posed to me by nuns of two different communities, I always think of the above quote and that "Man delights not me...." even as I revel in the beauty of humanity. I simply realize that there is something more than some guy for me.  There is something greater. Not that I deserve anything greater, just that, well...Man doesn't satisfy me. He can't. In all his beauty, in all his action and apprehension, man delights not me.

So where is my heart?

That's the question, isn't it? 

I know what my treasure is not. I once sought my treasure in man, and found him lacking. He can't provide for me, and maybe he doesn't want to.

I have looked to my life, my career, and my future, and I have, in the past, worked hard for those endeavors. That's where my heart was. I have often looked to worldly things, and found them lacking.

St. Jerome, in his Commentary on Matthew said in Mt 6:21:  "This should be understood not only of money, but of all passions. The god of a glutton is his belly. Therefore, where his heart is set is precisely where also his treasure is found. Banquets are the treasure of the luxurious, partying of the lascivious, lust of a lover, 'Each one is conquered by that to which he is enslaved.'"

Funny St. Jerome would use that word:


We are enslaved by our Passions, and to them we think we give our heart.

We "love" this or that, but do we really?  Do we give EVERYTHING for this or that triviality?

One of the phrases I learned when I lived in Mexico was this:  "?A que dedicadas?"  to mean, "To what do you dedicate yourself?"

It's a different question to we Americans. We are used to being asked what we DO as a definition of our being. But the Latino question is far different; it asks us not what we do for a living, but to what we dedicate ourselves. At heart the question asks us our Vocation:  it asks who we are as human beings.

Asked again, the question is:

 "Where is your heart?  What is the desire of your heart? To what do you dedicate yourself?"

We can do an entire examination of conscience on that question alone. The first answer is the one we need to take into the confessional for I guarantee you this: for the vast majority of us, if we are honest with ourselves and with God, the answer isn't HIM.

I am praying hard to answer the Sister's questions, which I recognize as the query of My Lord, as I kneel at  His feet. I am the woman begging for scraps and as He calls me a dog and tells me the food for which I beg is meant for His children instead, He doesn't break eye contact.  He is waiting for me not only to ask for my birthright, but to recognize, in humility, that the desire of my heart isn't to eat with the dogs....but beyond the angels.He asks me, at heart, to recognize that I am the Prodigal Daughter. I don't see how anyone can divorce this passage from that of the Prodigal Son, for they are one and the same.

Still He waits, for I can't see beyond the kibble and ascertain the true desire of my heart. I ask for mere scraps when He wills that I ask for Himself, for His Body and Blood, for complete union and my place in His Kingdom as His Daughter.  I'm in the dogdish and can't seem to wade out of it.

What is the desire of my heart?  In what do I delight? Where is my treasure?

There is the key that unlocks either my prison...or my Vocation.


Leah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Adoro said...

Leah ~ We can't make ourselves authority over the Bible and make it fit what we want to believe and what makes us comfortable and happy. That is very dangerous.

Read the Psalm again. We aren't zombies to be controlled. We have free will, and how can God plant the desires of our heart within us if we are too busy desiring our own wills, which are often contrary to God's will? If we are to be directed by Him, we have to have our eyes on HIM! As the Psalm exhorts us, "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will act".

Indeed...but He CANNOT act if we don't commit to Him! Free will...we reject or accept His direction.

Leah said...

Will you remove my comment? Thanks.