March 30, 2011
Every now and then, a scripture passage grabs ahold of me and won’t let go. All during Lent the Magnificat antiphon for weekdays, absent a particular feast, haunts my mind. I find myself contemplating it at odd times and places. It seems a perfect fit to introduce Mary’s beautiful prayer at Vespers – she was the most clean of heart of all God’s creatures.
A clean heart create in me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Found in Psalm 51:10, these words summarize what we are doing in Lent – repenting, letting God clean up our hearts, and resolving to remain on the upright path of the Lord.
Random thoughts on the first part:
- A clean heart is a pure heart.
- The pure of heart shall see God (Matt. 5: 8).
- The pure heart is undivided. It is focused on God and godly pursuits.
- The pure heart is detached from the things of this world, using them only in service of the greater work of getting to heaven.
- The pure heart rejoices in doing the will of God.
- The pure heart is full of charity which bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Cor. 13: 7).
- The pure heart reflects the face of Christ to all.
- When we ask God to create a clean heart in us, we admit we cannot do it of our own volition. Only He can give us the grace to be so.
- To ask for a clean heart implies that we know we have sinned. God gave us the grace to see our sinfulness and to ask Him for forgiveness. Compunction accompanies purity of heart.
- God creating a clean heart in us is a sign of His divine mercy, compassion, and love.
Random thoughts on the second part:
- A steadfast spirit is an upright spirit that holds to God’s will. It cannot be swayed by power or wealth or promise of any earthly reward.
- To ask God to renew a steadfast spirit in us implies that we have given in to temptation, waffling where we should have planted our feet firmly and refused to budge from “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14: 6).
- God renews a steadfast spirit within us by grace. Again, we must ask for it. In asking, we admit our helplessness to do it on our own.
- A steadfast spirit is upheld by the power of God and cannot be torn down regardless of the persecution it faces.
- The steadfast spirit walks the Way of the Cross with Jesus, imitating Him in faithfulness to the Father.
- The steadfast spirit is yoked to Christ, Who makes the burden light (Matt. 11: 30).
- The steadfast spirit bears the burden of souls with Christ, praying for deliverance and salvation of sinners.
- The steadfast spirit shines with the light of Christ (John 8: 12; Matt. 5: 14).
- The steadfast spirit combined with a pure heart bestows moral authority on our actions.
I walk the Way of the Cross in Mary’s company whose clean heart and steadfast spirit loved without reserve. May I be granted a similar faithfulness and attachment to the will of God.
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R. Now and forever. Amen.
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