Brothers and sisters:
To this day, whenever Moses is read,
a veil lies over the hearts of the children of Israel,
but whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed.
Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.
All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory,
as from the Lord who is the Spirit.
—2 Corinthians 3:15–18
This passage from today’s first reading speaks to the nature of the human heart. We all have a natural inclination to veil our hearts, to protect the innermost part of ourselves that is most vulnerable and keep it closed off. However, the veils we place around our hearts keep us from receiving the transformative gaze of the Lord.
In the book of Ezekiel, the Lord tells us, “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). He wants to utterly transform our hearts, but He can only do so if we give Him permission. We must remove the veils that we’ve constructed in our defensiveness and allow Him to look upon our hearts as they truly are. He will not deal with us as the world does; He will not wound us but will bring healing beyond what we can measure. Only by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with the Lord will we find our true identity and purpose.
As we prepare to celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus tomorrow, let us open our own hearts to receive His. May we take down any barriers that stand between us and God and receive the gift of His transformative gaze.
Image: Giovanni di Paolo, Saint Catherine of Siena Exchanging Her Heart with Christ / PD-US