Paratum cor meum, Deus, paratum cor meum.” (Ps 108,1) My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready. We have all heard the meme, “I was born ready.” In the Christian life we would adapt that meme to proclaim, “I was reborn ready.” In the rebirth of baptism, we are reborn into a life in the Spirit in which we have been freed from sin and prepared by God’s grace to live a new life of faith, hope and love in Christ Jesus our Lord. In baptism our hearts are cleansed, anointed, strengthened and prepared to be temples, dwelling places for the indwelling Spirit of God. It is our task as disciples of Jesus to keep our hearts ready and open to receive the Lord whenever he comes, whether his visit is immediate in Word or Sacrament or whether it is hidden in the guise of the poor and needy that reach out to us for mercy. Our attitude as disciples is one of vigilance, to remain always ready and prepared to welcome our Lord when he comes for a visit.
“Do not be afraid any longer, little flock…” (Luke 12,32) The first task of preparing our heart in a state of readiness is to clear out any fear from our hearts. In almost every theophany, or divine revelation in scripture, the encounter with God is always preceded by the admonition, “Do not be afraid.” Fear is poison to our hearts and causes us to close our hearts and harden our hearts to the demands of others. John tells us, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.” (1Jn 4,18) When we think of God as one who punishes us or who is angry with us or who is withholding something from us then we are not yet perfected in love and we have not yet come to know the Father who Jesus has come to reveal to us. Jesus assures us, “For your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12,32) As children of God, we are not just chasing an ideal that seems always just beyond our reach and that we might attain in heaven if we are good enough. By the Father’s grace, love and mercy, we already have a share in the divine nature. “His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power. Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.” (2Pt 1,3f) John reminds us, “Beloved, we are God’s children now.” (1Jn 3,2)
Bill Murray in the movie, “Stripes”, sings, “One of these days everything that I want is going to be mine.” This song, “Big Ole Brew”, expresses the worldly desires of, “A big ole brew, little ol’ you and sunshine.” These are earthly desires that ultimately fall short of our upward calling in Christ and do not satisfy our hearts. We would exchange them for the desire for greater things, “Living waters that satisfy our thirst, the possession of Jesus in our hearts and the light of Christ to guide us.” These are the true treasures that will allow us to receive the kingdom of God. Jesus encourages us to seek “an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Luke 12,33f) Paul also encourages us to, “Set your minds on what is above, not of what is on earth.” (Col 3,2) Readying our hearts means to realign our vision and purify our desire and set our hearts on the things of heaven. These are the things that will give us true freedom, happiness, peace and confident hope and allow our hearts to be at rest in God.
“Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he come and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.” (Luke 12, 35-37) A heart that is ready and set on the things of heaven, a heart that is prayerful, awake and prepared, is a heart that is blessed and living in Beatitude. The ready heart will open immediately to receive the bridegroom when he knocks. This is the heart that is prepared for the “still more” that the Lord calls us to in eternal love. God is ready to bless us, are our hearts ready to receive him and live in the Beatitude of his love and presence?