The journey to the heart

By: Fr. Jerry M. Orbos SVD - @inquirerdotnet - Columnist/Philippine Daily Inquirer | February 12,2023 - 08:00 AM

Someone pointed out that the distance between one’s head and one’s heart is only 12 inches, and many don’t quite make that journey from their head to their heart at all, in their whole lifetime.

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Happy Valentine’s Day. Happy Heart’s Day! Once a year, we are reminded that we have a heart and that matters of the heart do matter. May we not be so intellectually proud as to belittle the heart and look down on people who “see” with their hearts.

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In today’s Gospel (Mt. 5, 17-37), Jesus tells us that our righteousness should go beyond that of mere observance of law and traditions. Behind and beyond our religiosity should be a spirituality that is based on love. In other words, without the heart, we could end up self-righteous, vain, and proud. Yes, we who claim to be religious must be religious, with a heart.

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The journey from the head to the heart begins when we take the road of humility. Pride is the single biggest baggage some people have. Pride is the reason why some people do not go down on their knees in prayer to Someone greater than themselves and lack respect for others. Remember, the greatest tool of the evil one to confuse and mislead us is pride.

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The journey from the head to the heart happens when we focus less on the works and “achievements” of our hands and focus more on the love in our hearts, and when we realize that what is important is not so much that we are “loaded” but that we are “Lorded.” There is someone greater than you and I. More than a successful life, may we live a meaningful life with a heart filled with God, sharing, and service to our brothers and sisters.

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The journey from the head to the heart happens also when, beyond right or wrong, we focus on kindness, respect, understanding, and love. If we talk from our heads and deal with others just with our heads, we really don’t make much progress in our journey toward peace, understanding, unity, and love. Head to head? Try heart-to-heart!

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The journey from the head to the heart not only happens but becomes a reality when we talk less and listen more. That is when we realize that we have much to learn from each other and that every person is worth stopping for and worth listening to. Listen to nature, listen to the sound of silence, listen to what people are not saying, listen to God in prayer, and listen to our own hearts.

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The journey from the head to the heart takes on a new meaning when we focus less on being impressive, and focus more on being expressive. As someone beautifully put it: People don’t care how much you know, as long as they know how much you care. Being expressive is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, those who are not afraid to express what is in their hearts are the bravest and freest people in the world.

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“Have I told you lately that I love you?” May we have little or no regrets in the end that we loved God and others too little, too late because we were so in love with ourselves.

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I honor Maj. Gen. Ericson Cayetano Aurelio (PMA Class ’72), who joined our Creator at the age of 72. He did not have much, but he was a soldier who had courage, integrity, and loyalty until the very end. He was a soldier, with a heart. “When bells for us are rung. And our last taps is sung,” may we all come to our Creator and say, “Mission accomplished!”

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, give us the courage to make our journey from our head to our heart. Amen. 

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