There are many days I encounter a person, task, or choice and say, “I wish I acted differently. I wish I could see this person/task/choice through different eyes, but my heart is in the wrong place.” Needless to say, the heart is the hub of our emotion and in a sense, the gateway to our thoughts and self. The heart is the vault of love. If I love God with my whole heart, I do not mean with emotional love. Rather, with all my emotion, thoughts, and action working for his greater glory. In the moments I find it difficult to love others, I am not loving God with my whole heart either. During moments of great love for others, I show God’s great love as well.

For Catholics, the Sacred Heart of Christ represents the unmitigated love, compassion, and suffering of the heart of Christ for His people. We strive to be the presence of the Heart of Christ. In today’s reading, we hear the Lord say, “I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you.” He transforms our hearts through our complete trust in him. His forgiveness and life-giving spirit fill our renewed hearts. Though there will be times we will fall into sin and fail to love, God continues to work within our hearts as we live the presence of the Heart of Christ.

—Lisa M. Sroka coordinates retreats and designs marketing materials for Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL. She is a Chicago vocalist and alum of Loyola University Chicago.