“If our hearts and actions are inspired by charity, by divine love, then our communication will be touched by God’s own power.”
Whenever someone in my extended family or among my friends has a beef with Church teaching or Church practice, it seems as if they make a bee-line for me. I think most times they know they can say what they want, how they want, to me versus someone else. In some cases though, they think our conversation operates like the batphone to Rome. Except, instead of coming to their rescue like a superhero, I never vanquish supervillains and rarely have answers that satisfy them. In my last exchange, a loved one wanted to rationalize why a teaching was out of touch and unfair. At one point, sensing she was losing ground in her defense, she resorted to the line, “But in my heart of hearts...” Frustrated, my response was short and more curt than helpful. “That’s the problem,” I said, “Your heart’s not enough – that’s why we need the teaching.” The real batphone rang because there was a new supervillain in Gotham – me.
In reflecting on the conversation and how I could’ve been a better witness, I thought about the tension between head and heart. How often in my own leadership has my heart told me one thing, and my head, the opposite. We are told to “have heart” and at the same time “use your head.” Of course they aren’t mutually exclusive, but man does it feel like it sometimes. At daily Mass, I was struck in a different way as I blessed my mind, lips, and heart before the Gospel was proclaimed. Do my decisions and beliefs cross the threshold of both head and heart? My words might have been piercing but were they pierced by the Gospel in its fullness? It’s probably no coincidence that our lips, the conduit of outward action, are placed at the intersection between what we know and how we feel. The real “heart of hearts” is not our own but the One who called us into being. Is that what’s beating in us? Is that what’s coming out from us? I picked up the phone, apologized for being the Joker, and asked to continue the conversation. Prayers in your journey between head and heart this week.