By: Sr. Maria
I am a Sister in a Contemplative Community dedicated to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are at the center of our spiritual life, and the conformation and union of our hearts with theirs is desired and pursued and so naturally you will find a strong emphasis on purity of heart within our Charism.
In Particular, we try to cultivate this purity by striving for a right interior disposition of the heart, and emptying ourselves of the ulterior motives that infect our intentions.
So for instance, there is the call in our charism to let go of all agenda and ambition. Having an agenda is the same thing as having an expectation; whenever we do something, we usually do it with a strong belief or hope that a particular result or response will come from it. But in our striving for purity of heart, we try to surrender these hidden expectations that lie deep within us, and do everything with love for God and neighbor without having some result in mind, or expecting our love and service to be responded to in a certain way.
Even in prayer or in works of mercy, our hearts have to be purified from having an agenda while expecting particular results. Another area we focus on (in order to keep our hearts and intentions pure) is the emptying of ourselves and the rooting out of our hearts all ambitions. Ambition is the subtle, self-interested motive often woven into the fabric of mans intention and it usually has to do with some gain the individual is seeking. It is an ulterior motive directed to a different end than that which was sought.
For instance, a student may receive an “A” on her paper, yet not care very much about the subject she seemed invested in and labored to articulate so well in, because her ambition was for the accomplishment of receiving high grades for the semester. Likewise, a businessman may not be as interested in the good of his company when he is driven to make a notable contribution as he is in receiving a better position in the company. In the spiritual life too, a subtle ambition can easily start to taint our good decisions and behaviors.
Continually cultivating purity of heart apart from self-interest can help prevent falling into a common and subtle snare in the spiritual life that those who have dedicated their lives to God are susceptible to the mistake of harboring ambition to be holy for ourselves rather than for God’s sake. It is easy in the spiritual life to proceed unaware that our desires to be a saint can spiritually shift our focus from living the first commandment to undertaking holy practices for the wrong reason. This is what happens when a person firsts seeks to be holy rather than first seeking to please God. They mistake the means for the ends, and because of this, they will be preoccupied with the outward appearance of holiness and being recognized by others as being holy, which will be a great obstacle in the true spiritual growth necessary.
Finally, we strive to live purity of heart by having a humble heart. This is at the core of our charism. This humility of heart, which calls for self-acceptance and simply being who we are, without embellishment or compensations, or trying to make our personality something it is not, leads to simplicity and purity of heart. Through this purity and simplicity of heart, we come ever closer to being the individual servant God made us to be. This humble self-acceptance and emptiness is what makes the pure intentions and dispositions of the Sacred Heart live in our own hearts.
I will close with the community prayer we daily say- simple and yet the greatest expression of our charism- which requests that the dispositions and motives of the Sacred Heart fill our own hearts, se that our hearts may be a reflection of the Purity of His Heart.
Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to empty myself and be filled with Your love, peace, patience, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and understanding. Let every beat of my heart and every breath that I breathe be for You. Let every word that I speak be reflective of You. Let every glance I give be a mirror of You. Let every hand I touch feel Your gentle care. Let every step I take be on Your path toward Your Light. Let every word of praise I may receive be directed to You in humble thanksgiving. Let every angry word said to me or against me be returned with words of love and mercy not anger and revenge. Let every desire I have be for You. Let my will conform to Yours. Touch every cell of my body, Lord, and make me the person, the servant, You want me to be. AMEN.
For more information on the Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary please visit http://heartsofjesusandmary.com/
The Order of the Sacred and Immaculate
Hearts of Jesus and Mary
48765 Annapolis Road
Hopedale, Ohio 43976
Telephone: (740) 946-9000