Already in our Hearts
BY KELLY SWAN | July 11, 2022
The world lately feels wildly complex.
Confusing. Incomprehensible, even.
At every turn, a new tragedy, a new injustice, a new twist that keeps our heads spinning and our hearts lost and broken.
Hands up if you too find yourself at a loss.
Entirely unclear as to how to proceed.
Not even certain which catastrophic event, Supreme Court decision, global tragedy or health crisis, act of violence, or breaking news story deserves the most attention.
Heads spinning. Hearts lost and broken.
But yesterday’s first reading caught my attention.
Moses’ words are grounding, bringing me back to earth:
“For this command that I enjoin on you today
is not too mysterious and remote for you.”
A comfort. Because our brains often tell us that the only way to tackle complex problems is with complex solutions. Mysterious, remote, complicated solutions.
“It is not up in the sky, that you should say,
‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us
and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
Nor is it across the sea, that you should say,
‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us
and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’”
A comfort. Because my mind, body, heart, and soul are too weary to seek answers in the sky or across the sea.
“No, it is something very near to you,
already in your mouths and in your hearts;
you have only to carry it out.”
A comfort. Because I can find the fortitude to seek enough stillness to search my own heart.
The first reading leaves us hanging a bit, maybe uncertain as to what this commandment is. But then Luke steps in, with the reminder:
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”
And there it is.
Already in our hearts.
Love is our commandment—through all the pain, the suffering, the tumultuous reality of our world. If we can start there, start simply—no complex answers needed—then certainly that first step toward loving God and others can inform the next step, and then the next. From there we can find written in our hearts the path to continue our work to build the world God envisions and we hope to see.
Kelly Swan has worked for the Ignatian Solidarity Network since 2016, first as communications director, and now as director of advancement. She grew up in West Virginia and is a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University. Kelly has worked in parish social ministry, child and family advocacy, community education and organizing, and publishing. She lives in the Cleveland, Ohio area with her children.
A priest once told me that when meeting with parishioners he would listen carefully and then reply compassionately: “I’m going to tell you something you already know.’
Go into your upper room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret- and you will know.
The awareness of the presence of God in our lives leads us to the ability to be present to our neighbor. A true presence and realization that we are totally ‘with’ them in mind and heart.Father Joseph pushes us to this realization by his reflection. In being with my family yesterday(mother, father, 6 year old boy, 4 year old boy, and 2 year old child) one could see the children enjoying the freedom of the children of God and the parents knowing the weight of the world was on their shoulders, but every once in awhile one could see the parents truly enjoying the ‘presence’ of their children one pool splash at a time. The family gathering becomes a sacred time.
Very nicely/well written and expressed, Kelly. I hardly can say more than to thank you for what you have written here. What you write applies to all ages as we all can testify to! Let’s just all dig in! Thanks again.
I was greatly moved by the readings in mass yesterday. It isn’t just one thing to pin our passion on such as the recent SCOTUS action. Its the big picture, love one another, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick and lonely, visit the incarcerated. Ban capital punishment, care for those seeking asylum, immigrants and refugees. And care for all those needing food, jobs medical care, not if we think they DESERVE it but if they NEED it.
This was just what I needed. With so many things crashing around us, both globally and nationally, it is impossible to focus on anything. I get stuck in the muck and retreat, then feel guilty. It is cool enough today to tend to outdoor chores that will allow my head, and perhaps my heart, to clear.
Thanks for the reflection. Mary the Mother of Jesus had her own way of working out solutions. “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” – writes Luke 2: 19.