Back to School and the Retraining of the Heart
By Maurice Tenorio
"Watch the supernatural gains in your heart lift the once impossible weight of selfless love. Making those once hard decisions becomes possible."
Brothers and sisters:
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you, along with all malice.
And be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.
So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.
Second reading from this upcoming Sunday’s mass. Ephisians 4:30-5:2
We seem to always start with good intentions when we head back to school. Study habits, time management, workout schedule and even nutrition. Almost like a new year’s resolution. In the video, Fr. Mike talks about making the easy decisions now, so we can make the hard decisions later.
Perhaps in years past we’ve contributed more to the wounds of others, rather than to their healing. Maybe it was just too difficult to find space in our hearts for the marginalized, lost, rejected, and abandoned. We dub them as too much work and drama. We have our own stuff to work on. But, do we? Do we actually put work into our own healing? Or are we just too busy finding ways to be distracted from the suffering that comes from our sins? Sins that are more often than not, a reaction to our woundedness.
So this school year, let us resolve to be kind to one another, compassionate to the one He brings before us. A moody teacher, the annoying underclassman, those who talk trash about you behind your back, all have a role to play in forming your heart, and you in theirs. Look beyond what sets you off about their presence or personality. Let God show you who He sees in you, when you feel unworthy. Yet, still are. Choose to love them how you desire to be loved by Him. Choose to love beyond triggers and soon enough we will be on our way to using our hearts for what they were intended for, accessing our inheritance of being loved and loving through His Sacred Heart.
If we desire to live up to this call to be a ‘sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma,’ then we must take the first steps to living as sacrificial people. When we see others as He sees us. Restless and broken. Hard hearted and stubborn. Worthy. Enough. Wonderfully made. Will we then begin to see that in choosing to do the easy thing, saying no to the smaller self-protecting and self-serving impulses, and saying yes to making room in our hearts for others will eventually be a more common practice in our lives. From there, others will come to see Who it is that heals our hearts, and possibly usher them from that place of hopelessness where they reside.
Cutting and bulking are common disciplines among those who are trying to accomplish goals in strength training. From caloric intake to caloric deficit, we make decisions that will impact those goals directly. That same discipline transcends to the harnessing of the heart and mind when we have a goal to live a life of sacrificial love. We must begin by saying “no” to the things that hinder our “gains.” The opposite of sacrifice is selfishness. The impulse to revert to self-protection, self-serving, self-pleasing actions all point ‘ME’. No one else. How about if today we choose to pause, before we react to the person we can't stand. Give that a few reps. Watch the supernatural gains in your heart lift the once impossible weight of selfless love. Making those once hard decisions becomes possible. Train your heart to live the life of love He created us to experience and share. Our capacity for evil, in this case..is doing nothing for anyone else, but ourselves.