And what wilt thou do with my heart, O Christ?
– St. John Houghton, while being gutted
So this is today's Saint quote of the day over at my homepage.
It's the kind of quote that can make me react in a dangerous way - thinking that following Christ is such a high standard that I can't possibly do it, so I don't even try. How can this guy be saying such a thing while he's being gutted? It makes me stop and think: how far from that state of mind am I?
I don't even say things like this when someone cuts me off when I'm driving. I don't stop and turn to Christ and ask for guidance with my heart.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not aiming to be a saint. I'm just trying to use the saints as a spiritual example and learn from their lives, like I was taught to do. The saints, even in their human-ness, emulated very spiritual behaviors and I know that I can learn things from them if I pay attention to their words, actions and - yes- their hearts.
I've spent my life looking at their words and actions but I think I left out the heart part. I'm a Type A. I like to get things fixed. I like to help people. And in my rush to do, I forget to "be". I've learned over the years that I need to tone that down and I pray to be more balanced, especially in my relationships with people. I also stuff my feelings, to the detriment of my overall health. I stuff anger. I chide myself for crying while grieving. Or I chide myself for being childish and laughing at the cookie monster sometimes. I don't let my heart be. And I don't turn my heart over to Christ.
Then there's the other reading of this quote, the complete turning over of St. John's life and body to Christ. "I am yours, even in death, to do with as you will, O Lord," his words imply. I think of those in other countries who die for their beliefs and it humbles me.
I have never made this simple prayer, this spiritual question that shows humility, trust and utter reliance on God. I will have to stop during the day when facing trials and joys as well, all part of the fabric of life - and utter the words:
"And what wilt thou do with my heart, O Christ?"