Second Reading: 1 John 3:18-24
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.
Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God
and receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit he gave us.
A heart that constantly represses and pretends is a heart on its way toward disaster. Once the disaster comes – whatever the cause finally is – it is only the heart’s life that is disrupted, but everyone around it. The repressed, pretending, or dishonest heart is a ticking time-bomb. There are very rarely survivors.
Jesus says, “Does your heart condemn you? Take courage: I am greater than your heart. Come to me, anyway.”
No one is asking you to put your deepest places on the internet or on billboards; no one is asking you to write a book or start a clothing line to market your journey. The only one asking you for every detail of your heart – so they can affirm you and bring you into abundant life, not so that you can be condemned – is Jesus. Honesty with ourselves is the prerequisite for honest with God, even if the most honest thing you can say is “I have no idea who I am.” Prayer is the safest place on the planet; you can say anything you want. The only requirement for engaging with Christ in the intimacy of your heart is the desire (and I mean a real, honest desire) to be who you are (and I mean who you really, honestly are).
A final note – the Church is often associated with repression, and vice versa. It’s true that the Christian life has a moral vision that is different from the world’s. This vision becomes dangerous if it is divorced from discipleship or even a basic knowledge of the Jesus who is proclaimed by the Church (as opposed to the Jesus often being preached from pulpits or by the living witness of many so-called Christians). It becomes dangerous in this case because the moral vision is reduced to following rules/doing things in order to earn God’s love and therefore salvation (a position called Pelagianism which was condemned 1,603 years ago) and/or waters down Christianity to a boring and gloomy life of complete subjection to a God who is forever and ever mad at me.
In this age where everything seems to be in the process of being reconsidered, re-decided, and redefined, can we let ourselves take a renewed look also at the Christian moral vision? Is it possible that there is a third way hidden somewhere between repression of self and subjection to an angry God? A hidden way that is actually a way toward full and abundant life? Isn’t it possible?
Does your heart condemn you? Take courage, he is greater than your heart. Go to him.