Untethering the Heart

LENTEN RETREAT
 Day 36

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THE “hot air balloon” represents one’s heart; the “gondola basket” is the will of God; the “propane” is the Holy Spirit; and the two “burners” of love of God and neighbour, when lit by the “pilot light” of our desire, fill our hearts with the Flame of Love, enabling us to soar toward union with God. Or so it would seem. What is it that is still holding me back…?

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“Lord, I have placed myself in the basket of your Divine Will. I am striving to increase the burner of love of You through a consistent prayer life, and to love my neighbour as myself. And yet, why is it that, year after year, I seem to only hover above the ground. Why am I so restless, so torn it seems between the world and You? How I long to be in the stratosphere of your presence and love! What am I doing wrong?”

“Look down my child?”

“What is it Lord?”

“See, there—those ropes leading up to your heart. These are tethered to the earthly plane, tied to a love of creatures and temporal things. So long as these remained fastened to your heart, you cannot fly heavenward.”

“Do you mean…”

“Yes, My child—your attachment to being in control. Your attachment to material things, which you assiduously guard from being scratched or sullied. Those attachments to your reputation and being approved of. The attachment to food, money, and absolute security. And yes, child, even your attachment to those whom you love.”

“Is it wrong then, Lord, to have these things?”

“They are only things, child, to be used as such. To possess or not possess them counts little; but to let them possess you counts greatly. You cannot serve two masters. Do you know why?”

“Why Lord?”

“Because I made you to love Me alone, because I alone am the source of your happiness. You are not only flesh, but spirit, made in My image. Ah, to just say this, child, makes My heart burn with love for you, as I continue to live in the moment when the genius of the Holy Trinity conceived Our plan to create man in Our image. Oh, if you could live in that moment with Us, you would see how We long to restore you to that happy union, which Adam and Eve knew, but lost. You would see how terrible an exchange it is to choose love of creatures over the Creator. How the angels cringe when man stoops so low beneath his dignity.”

“But I fear, Jesus, that I will never be free of such attachments. I am such a poor and weak soul, so easily overcome by the illusory temptations of this world.”

“Child, it is true: only the Blessed in Heaven are they who love Me alone. All others, whether they are the souls on earth or the souls in Purgatory who loved Me—but loved me imperfectly—must be purified of all inordinate desire to prepare them for total union with their God. This is why you are called to spiritual battle—but also why I have given you the Church, the Sacraments, the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Mother, and the Communion of Saints to assist in purifying you to the extent you co-operate with My grace.”

“And Lord, what are these thin strings that I now see that are translucent like a fishing line? These too are tied to my heart… but they also extend toward the earth. They seem beautiful the way they catch the light of the Sun… but are these also bad?”

“These, My child, are the attachments to spiritual consolations and gifts. These too must be severed so that your love is solely for the Giver and not His gifts. Even should a single line remain attached to your heart, it will keep you from complete union with Me, which can only happen in total freedom—freedom from love of all things not Me. Child, the heights of holiness to which I desire to bring you, the vistas of grace that I want you to behold, the universe of Mercy and Love into which I long to bring you, and all your brothers and sisters…. all the earthly attachments to which you are now clinging combined, are as dust compared to these refractions of Myself.”

“Lord, how… how do I detach from the things of this world?”

“You already know the answer, My child. Be faithful in everything, from the smallest to the greatest, in each moment of the day. Seek first My Kingdom, not your own. Seek My Face (in prayer), and no other. Seek to serve, and not to be served, to be humble and not exalted, to be faithful and nothing less: 

Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me. (John 12:24-26)

“Yes, My child, My Father will honor you by exalting your soul with the radiance of My holiness, by the fragrance of My love, and the beauty of My virtues.”

“Oh, Heavenly Father, long have I delayed my total and complete “yes”. Long have I held back my full and impartial love. You gave me everything when you gave me Jesus. And He gave everything, to the last drop of His Precious Blood for me. Oh Lord, long have I held myself back; too long have I trusted in myself and my own resources. Wasted are the hours and days that I have so carelessly left my affections elsewhere. This day, Lord, I wish to sever all ropes and lines that keep me from soaring into Your arms. Please Lord, ignite my heart with the flames of your love, fill me with your purifying Spirit, and lift me from this earthly plane of sorrow toward heavenly union with You.”

“My child, I hear your prayers, I mark your cries, and I always count your tears. But know that this life is a battle and a cross, as it was for Me, and therefore, a struggle. What I ask of you more than anything now, is to entrust yourself to Me like a little child. To trust that I am the best of fathers, the best of friends, and that everything I do will always be for your good. Because no father would hand his child a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread. How much more will My Heavenly Father give you the Spirit, who comes to you now like the dew fall.”

“Thank you, Lord. Then I am to be faithful, in the little things, the duty of the moment; I am to love and serve my family, and all those whom I encounter each day; and I am to seek Your Holy face always in prayer of the heart. Is this what you ask of me, dear Lord?”

“Yes, My child. But there is one other thing: you must rely entirely upon My Mercy, for you are still weak. But the greater your misery, the greater your right to My Mercy. There is no one more concerned, more eager, and more zealous for your holiness than I who created you, I who spread His arms upon the Cross and expired for love of you.”

“Then, Lord, I make mine the prayer of Psalm 27:

Hear my voice, Lord, when I call;
have mercy on me and answer me.
“Come,” says my heart, “seek his face”;
your face, Lord, do I seek!
Do not hide your face from me;
do not repel your servant in anger.
You are my salvation; do not cast me off;
do not forsake me, God my savior!
Even if my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will take me in. (27:7-10)

 

SUMMARY AND SCRIPTURE

In order to soar toward union with God, our hearts must also be untethered from love of created things, and attached only to the Creator, whom alone we were made for.

They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings. (Isaiah 40:31)

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