Last night I went to Mass in Las Cruces and Bishop emeritus Ramirez was the celebrant. In his homily he talked about Flannery O’Connor, a Catholic writer who he has enjoyed reading through the years. The main point he talked about was a beautiful prayer that she wrote.
The gist of the prayer was asking the Lord to empty my heart of me and my selfishness, so that God could fill me completely with Him and what He has for me, so that I would be a chapter in His book of the salvation of the world. Isn’t that beautiful?
I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.Ezekiel 36:26
It sounds like a heart transplant as I read that. A stony heart is cold, hard, lifeless, and has no feeling or concern for God or for others.
It reminds me of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’, A Christmas Carol. Scrooge was transformed from being a selfish, unfeeling, cruel man to a man of kindness and great generosity. Another good example of this is the story of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” Both these characters underwent a heart transplant of sorts.
A heart of flesh is warm, kind, tender, forgiving, and aware of one’s own sin. A heart of flesh cares for others enough to want to help them. A warm heart reaches out way beyond himself to others.
As the Bishop spoke I thought this miracle of grace is what I want to work on this Advent. I’m asking God to help me remove “me” from my heart so God can fill it completely with Him. That way I can be a chapter in His book of the salvation of the world.
I think that would be a good birthday present for Jesus.
Blessed Advent to you.
Mary Ann / Mother Hen