I like to think that I am kind, compassionate, and loving. I am especially kind, compassionate, and loving to those whom I deem “worthy.” Jesus pointed out the hard-heartedness of the Pharisees. Jesus points out my hard-heartedness too. When I restrict my kindness and compassion, I am restricting love. In this way, I commit adultery—I am not being faithful to God.
Following Jesus requires constant self-examination. This can be exhausting and might cause us to despair: we will always find places where our hearts have calcified. Like the disciples, we might be tempted to say “This is too hard. Isn’t there an easier way?” But Jesus assures us that this is the way to heaven.
Look back on your day. Identify moments when you might have been hard-hearted: When did you fail to show love, kindness, and compassion? Ask Jesus to show you how to be whole-hearted in those moments.
—Bob Burnham, OFS, a Secular Franciscan and spiritual director, writes and edits for Loyola Press in Chicago.