February 2002We receive as much as we hope for. St. Therese

Always There, Every Morning

As Caroline Myss puts it: "We all want to know why we are here." In the introduction to her latest book, Caroline also quotes a former president of India as saying that the reason we were born is to become united to the Divine. It is comforting to know that Nature is in no hurry. If we miss the clues along the way, Nature, like the Divine, eventually catches up with us and helps us out.*

All of us have had the experience of doing the same activity day after day, even reverently, and then one day, unexpectedly, something is different. We see the activity differently. The Divine catches up with us. For example, I cannot count the number of times I have heard the greeting, "Lift up your hearts," at Eucharist. The other day, I began to ponder the root meaning of this expression. Actually, a more accurate translation would be: "Let your heart arise." This is so because the heart naturally rises, if we give it a chance.

It seems like the pre-Easter, pre-Spring, season is a good time to ponder what helps the heart arise and what hinders its natural spontaneous movement. Often the heart is weighed down because it has not had a chance to grieve its loses, even the small ones. Usually, we are conscious of the big ones. The least anyone can do for the heart is to articulate these loses, list them, and cry over them if need be. Along this line, there is a belief that seems to be Irish in origin. It goes something like this: If we lose something or someone very precious, that person or that something sends back a gift and a blessing to take the place of the loss. This is a very everyday understanding of the Paschal Mystery. At any rate, it behooves us to look for the gift.

One of the best tonics for a healthy heart is to embrace a life of non-worry. While some concerns are to be addressed, in many other cases, we are called to name the worry, own it, and then let it go. Sometimes, we prevent the heart from rising because we do not allow it to do what it wants to do naturally, in the good sense of the term. Goethe says: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has a genius in it." The heart needs to be allowed to take that first step. Courage, as well as Divine Providence, will follow.

Lastly, the heart rises most nobly when it reaches out to other people who feel weighed down by life's burdens. How does one help another heart to rise? Initially, the heart takes on the sadness of the other. And then, it speaks a word of hope and encouragement into the desolation, while, at the same time, suggesting a different way of looking at the situation. Finding a natural home in the heart, hope believes that a benefit has already taken place. Furthermore, we would not hope at all, if what we hoped for were far away. Charles Peguy refers to hope as a little sister who rises with us each morning. She is always there, and never stops singing.

*Caroline Myss, Sacred Contracts, Awakening Your Divine Potential, New York: Harmony Books, 2001, p.1.

Sister Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D.

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