Removing the stumbling blocks

In a recent Gospel, Jesus comments about judging others and advises, “…first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5) The whole faith journey is about improving and aligning, not just ourselves but all we come in contact with, to God’s will. It does need to start with each one of us, and the eye is not the only place where we will find stumbling blocks.

Passion is what drives many people. Others may refer to it as what we love: our families and friends, our neighborhoods, our careers, and the list continues. To describe it, we would say that it comes from the heart. So, what’s all in your heart? Do you share it with Jesus? All of it? It’s very easy to say that we do and very hard when it comes to the practice of it. When illness, strife, work and activities vie for our time, we say they lay heavy on our hearts. But imagine being small enough to be next to your heart and take inventory of it as you would a closet. How big and bulky are the items that are weighing you down? Can you even get in the closet of your heart? Now imagine wrangling items out of your heart and giving them to Jesus. What do you think He would do with them?

I picture Jesus taking the items from me and placing them in His heart. It’s a powerful image to consider. The things that I care about, so does He! But He will also put things into perspective as well. Just because they are important to me does not mean that I need to drag them around and worry about them. We carry around these stumbling blocks, not realizing that they are taking up precious space that should really belong to Jesus. Just like our physical hearts can get clogged up with cholesterol, our spiritual hearts can do the same with all the things we hold in there. And just like our physical heart, even if it gets cleaned out, we have to be cautious and watchful that it doesn’t get clogged up again.

Our Blessed Mother Mary, who was known to keep the actions and sayings of Jesus in her heart (Luke 2:51), can be a guide for us. She pondered the will of God and joyfully did it. Her thoughts and actions stemmed from a pure love of God; the passion that drove her to say ‘Yes’ to the annunciation as well as following Jesus to the hill of Calvary. Let us ask her to help us to unite our hearts with hers and Jesus’ and to help clear our hearts from the stumbling blocks that have built up in them.

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