Part 2 of What Does God Really Want from You: A Three-Part Series on the Human Heart as the Temple of God
There are many things you won’t tell everyone: certain memories, feelings, hopes, goals, and so on. You probably don’t make them known because you feel that if others could see the “real you” they wouldn’t understand. You know you have found a good friend when you feel safe enough to open these areas of your life to them. A good friend understands and can be trusted with your deeper life; you can “let them in.”
Where exactly are you “letting them in?” The answer is your heart. You heart is the name we give for the deepest part of you. It is where you are most real and authentic. The heart is your inner sanctum. It is the ‘who’ of who you are. One helpful thing about seeing your heart as an inner sanctum or inner room is that it allows us to imagine how expansive it is.
Growing Open Hearts
Think of the story How the Grinch Stole Christmas. After the Grinch tries to stop Christmas by stealing all of the presents from Whoville, he is shocked to hear the Whos still singing. He realizes,
“What if Christmas… doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”
He realizes that Christmas is about love.
And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.
I know that feeling. I don’t think I was ever a Grinch, but before I had kids, I thought I knew what love was. As it turned out, my heart just needed to grow. Since I became a parent, I have felt my heart expand larger and larger with love every year. That’s the thing about the heart: it can grow!
Open Hearts to God
When have you felt your heart grow bigger? God wants all of us to grow hearts large enough to embrace all of creation! We have a long way to go, but God promises to meet us there. St. Catherine of Siena tells us that there is a room in each one’s heart where no man, no woman, no devil, no angel can go. Only you and God can enter that interior space. God wants to be present with you there and grow your human heart. I invite you to let God in just as you let in a friend. In a way, the life of discipleship is a long process of opening our hearts to God. Christians have explored it through a practice called The Prayer of the Heart, which we will talk about next week.
In the next few days, spend some time exploring your heart. What things make you feel open and relaxed? What things close you off and make you retreat inside? Who do you let in? Who do you keep out? There are no right or wrong answers here; this is only about self-knowledge. What are you learning about your own heart?