Joel 2:13 Rend Your Hearts Not Your Garments
Reflection: Paying God “lip service”
By: Eric Gajewski
Jesus Christ ultimately came to convert hearts. It is truly quite that simple (regeneration and/or conversion). He came being our selfless model who by way of His holy Lips spoke the Word. Today he is calling out to you to rend your heart and not your garments. Do what you would do privately in public as if God’s eyes remained upon you at all times. Do not pay God lip service by saying you repent and then go out and commit the same sin that very same day. We, often times, want to appear holy in front of others and yet when we are alone how do we conduct ourselves? Do we hear the Word but do not allow it to penetrate our hearts? How many will say on their Judgement “but Lord, Lord Did I not” ….(you fill in the blank). The majority are going to have excuses on that Day that Our Lord is simply not going to buy at all. This should truly startle anyone claiming to be Christian. Christ knows what you do but also why you do it.
Contrition for sin is not going through the motions. Some have the notion that if I simply show up to Mass “it is all good”. This is like taking the invite of the neighbor over to diner than constantly being on the phone or looking out the window during the dialogue before the meal. It offends God. You must “show up” in prayer to God. Reciting the words of a prayer does not mean your heart is behind it. Many will rend their garments in public because their hearts wont be bent to God’s Will. How many get upset because God doesn’t follow their plan? How many will go through the vicious cycle of mortally offending God being forgiven in Confession only to come back the following week to complete the cycle? The process of moving away from self is brutal. It is the hardest thing you will ever do and this is why there are so few saints so few eagles. Structure is good do not get me wrong but if we turn into some sort of robot reciting prayers without any heart involved than what good is the prayer?
Lip service. Could you imagine your significant other giving you the same excuse over and over again for their infidelity to you in the relationship? We are just human beings and assuredly we will not accept this lip service. How much more will the “just God” not accept it if He is the reader of hearts and supposed to be the Bridegroom of your soul? Over and over we read from Catholicism how the Jews had uncircumcised hearts and were a stiff-necked people therefore do you want to be considered the same? You go through the motions and want to to be seen but your heart is far away from the Sacred Heart. You say you care about the Faith but you put very little time into knowing it in general and even worse no time in trying to understand this Church crisis.
Prayer life. If you find yourself in this category than you need to restructure your day. You need to take time out daily for at least an hour in silence and solitude. Turn off your apparent best friend the “boob tube” and get to know your God a little. Analyze your faults and weaknesses and begin to ask for the grace to conquer them. The process of conversion is typically slow and gradual and therefore we must progress as anyone in an earthly relationship with a potential spouse. Know who they are, what they expect in the relations and abide by those boundaries. We have that as Catholics with doctrine and dogmas which cannot change (much to the dismay of the modernists). As your prayer life goes so will your soul. If your heart is not moved to prayer than your soul cannot ascend in this Fortress of Faith.
Do you fast or feast? One of the ways to quickly appease Gods wrath is through fasting. I believe we all need to go above and beyond that the Church would normally ask of us at this point and do so without grumbling. I must admit that is an area I sometimes overlook in my own examination of conscience. Sometimes I feel like I do not eat enough and then get sick and then I feel like I may overeat to regain my health that I lost. It can be tricky but through God’s grace all can accomplished. I would rather not have health and have Christ then be in perfect physical condition and be living persistently in the mortal sin of gluttony. As Americans, we tend to want to try and celebrate anything we can but I suggest to you let us try to see things as God does in our godless modern times. We must have Eagle eyes to see how sorrowful Our Lord is and then adjoin our hearts unto His. They will be eating and drinking and marrying and giving into marriage…a whole lot of celebrating going on in the times when Gods wrath pours out. Therefore, have the mindset to fast rather than to feast.
Joel 2:13 “And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil.”