[Lenten Booklet] Closer to the Heart of Christ! Week 4

THE HEART IDENTITY

Each day, the course includes a short word, a short text from the Bible and a small action for you to take.

The prayers for the 4th week (14th to 20th of March 2021) is  to be found in this article. Every week you will have a new article with the reflections of the week. 

You can also follow our Facebook page, where we will post the prayer of the day. 

Our heart, an organ made up of flesh, but also the seat of our feelings and to which we attribute an intelligence of its own, is at the centre of the life of our body. In its image, let us therefore set out in search of the unity of our person. Let us try this week to unify all the zones of our being: affectivity, corporeality, reason, which although continually interpenetrating, sometimes remain within us as if they were fragmented.

For you, who am I?” Jesus asks us. Jesus does not doubt his identity; he does not need our look to know who he is. He does not invite us to label Him. He invites us to discover, through this question, the identity of his heart.

And aren’t we victims of the labels we attach to our own identity, “I have such and such a character, I am like that”. By freezing the identity of our heart in this way, how could we simply consider changing? In the same way, pretending to know someone “by heart”, in the way we would “go around” a question, does not this naively lock him or her into what we think we know about him or her? So let us dare to take this step, that of discovering our identity, not in the reassuring and predefined boxes where we have locked it up, but in all those places where it wants to give itself.

Monday: Time

Throughout our lives, we change, in character, age, desires, ideas, etc., and yet we remain true to ourselves. At times, however, we may no longer know “where we are”, that is to say, we may doubt “who” we are.

But it’s not in the fog that I have to take off the automatic pilot. We can rely on the act of promising. The time of promise is the time by which I remain for a part as I am today at the moment I promise something. The time of promise is “the firm time of initiative by which I keep, my word, even though I have changed”. (Paul Ricœur).

Action: For the people of Israel, the covenant at Sinai is this founding act and its commitment to follow the Lord’s command: “Listen, Israel, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind”. (Dt5) I am remembering a founding act of my life, a promise that I made freely and which reflects and contributes to maintaining my profound identity. I renew this promise in the secret of my heart, despite the difficulties I may go through.

Tuesday: The Appearance

We are pushed to show different “faces” according to the situations or people we meet. Our identity can become fragmented or even divided. The use of social networks can deepen this divide between what we are deep down and what we let appear. “When will I see you face to face? “sings the psalmist. The real encounter with God is a face-to-face, while we focus on our “profile”.

Action: I take stock. In one month, what have I shown about myself on social networks?

Do I show my most attractive side?

 

Wednesday

“Tell me what you wear, I’ll tell you who you are! “Let’s turn to our wardrobe… What kind of clothes do we usually wear when we go out? To stay at home? To go to work? Does my appearance vary exaggeratedly depending on where I go? Do I take care of my appearance just to see “the world” or also out of love for my loved ones and out of respect for myself?

Action: “My heart and my flesh cry out for joy…”. (Ps 84) When I come home from work, or when I am with my children, I take care of the way I dress, because I am the same elsewhere and at home!

Thursday

Our heart may have suffered deeply and still have deep wounds.

The sorrows we continue to feel sometimes end up “sticking to our skin” to the point that we can no longer define our identity without referring to these tragic experiences. We lock our identity into this wound that can prevent us from giving generously.

Action:I will give you a new heart, I will put a new spirit in you” (Ez 36:26). Today, I sincerely choose not to define myself any longer by this wound. I am not just a wounded heart, and I remain free to write the rest of my story now. How do I integrate this wound? How do I wish to make it bear fruit?

Friday

Jesus, in his gestures, in his intentions, in his words, is as his heart. His whole life reflects his profound identity, his intrinsic unity. His being and his appearance are in perfect harmony. And everything culminates in the mystery of the cross.

This is the man” says Pilate (Jn 19:5) and Jesus will say to Margaret-Mary “This is the heart“. This mystery of the cross comes to reveal to us not only the identity of Jesus but also our own, what we are called to be in the depths of our hearts.

Why did Jesus crucify his humanity? To tell us that what makes his identity is to be absolutely given, delivered. Following him, let us rediscover how much “he who wants to keep his life loses it; he who gives his life wins it“. Let us dare to believe, with Christ, that only the gift of ourselves can restore us to ourselves.

Action: Just for today, I give myself with love, freely, completely and selflessly, in my daily tasks.

Saturday: Proofreading

“How shall I repay the Lord for all the good he has done to me? “(Psalm 115 [116]:12). Today we are concluding the first part of this special time of Lent. What is the state of our winter garden of a month ago?

Action: It’s time to check that everything is well planted. Let’s take a close look: what little shoots have sprouted from the ground during this Lenten period? What have I discovered from my own heart? Let us be grateful for these signs of life and rebirth that inhabit our lives. What aspects, what seeds have I left on the edge that need more attention to grow? What seedlings should I grow in the warmth to ensure that they can develop well by the end of this journey?

© Sanctuaire du Sacré-Cœur, Paray-le-Monial

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