Saturday, 14 March 2009

Interior conversion

From the Devout Life today:

Those who treat of husbandry and rural matters tell us that, if some word be written upon an almond that is quite sound, and if it be put back in its covering, which is carefully folded and wrapt about it, and then placed in the soil, all the fruit of the tree which grows from it will have this same word written and engraced on it. For my part, Philothea, I have never been able to approve of the method of those who, to reform a man, begin with the exterior - with the deportment, with the clothes, with the hair.

On the contrary, it seems to me that we must begin with the interior: Be converted to me, says God, with all your heart. My son, give me thy heart; for the heart being the source of our actions, they are such as is the heart. The divine Spouse in his invitation to the soul says: Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm. Yes, truly, for whosoever has Jesus Christ in his heart, has him soon afterwards in all his exterior action.

For this cause, dear Philothea, I have desired above all things to engrave and inscribe this holy and sacred word upon your heart: Vive Jesus! I am confident that thereafter your life, which comes from your heart, as an almond-tree from its kernel, will have all its actions, which are its fruits, stamped and engraved with this same word of salvation; and that, as this sweet Jesus will live within your heart, he will also live in all your actions, and will appear in your eyes, in your mouth, in your hands, yea, even in your hair; and you will be able reverently to say, in imitation of St Paul: I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me.

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