Here in New Mexico, where the drought has hardened our soil making gardening so-very-un-fun, rain is considered a miraculous blessing. I was thinking about this today because it is kind of like the parable of the Sower. In that story Jesus said the Sower (God) throws out the seeds freely…but the seeds that fall on the ground are eaten by birds; the seeds falling on rocky soil can’t take root and the seeds that land near weeds are choked to death. Only the seeds on good soil will bring forth new life.
The ground of course is us. Are we receptive? Have we fertilized our inner garden so that it is ready for God the Gardener to plant?
Another metaphor came to mind as I thought about the rain we so desperately need here. Jesus said that God sends down rain to nourish all. Even the “bad guys” have the opportunity to receive it. (Matthew 5:45)
But the thing is that our hearts are containers left out in the rain…some are open and receptive and can hold a lot (like rain barrels), but others are shrunken and closed.
If we are focused only on worldly things, the heart shrinks because God is the source of the Good. A worldly heart has no room for the Reign from Heaven.
But if we have learned how to KNOW, LOVE, & SERVE God, then we have a big heart and can receive in abundance. It is not God’s generous love that varies. It’s our ability to receive…
On the glorious feast of Corpus Christi, Catholics shouldn’t have to ask—Is Jesus really present in the Eucharist? (Because if Jesus is God, and He said He is, then when He said “This bread is My Body” we’d better take God’s word for it.)
The real question is not, is Jesus present; the question is—Are we present? Are we attentive? Do we have a large enough heart, open to receive Him fully?
According to how aware and how prepared we are, the Eucharist fills the cup of our hearts.
So how do we acquire a bigger heart? How do we make that container bigger and open to receive?
1) Long for Him.
Long for Him, like the deer that yearns for the running stream (Ps. 42). Recognize the need to receive from Above.
2) Fill your mind with words and images of Holiness.
The mind influences the heart. Learn more about Jesus and His great love. The saints grew Big and Receptive Hearts by paying attention and staying focused. St. Padre Pio said, “It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without the Holy Mass.”
3) Seek silence.
The devil has a great tactic…he keeps us thinking that if we stop the hustle bustle we’ll become depressed—we’ll be empty without activity. Most people are terrified of silence. (Have you noticed that more and more people leave their TVs on all day long for “background noise” and teenagers leave earphones in all the time. These things point to a societal phobia about silence.) But God can’t speak to us in the midst of noise. The rain can’t fill a cup that is already full.
Silence IS about emptying. But it is not something to fear. Because the best friend of all is waiting to fill the silence.
4) Go for regular visits.
The best place for a visit with Our Lord is at an Adoration Chapel. There you will find deep silence. And there you will find a penetrating sense of His Presence.
5) Ask for a bigger container in your heart!
Little children have big hearts that are open to receiving. But as the body grows, the heart seems to shrink. When we long for the Living Waters, seek silence and fill our minds with holiness, then we can ask for a bigger heart container and it will be granted.
Just remember to keep the heart open and let the rain come down!
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