What influences my heart?


October 14, 2020 – Wednesday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/101420.cfm)


What motivates me everyday? What are my desires and wants? What drives me to live? These questions would help us to understand better ourselves, our tendencies, as well as our thoughts and the meaning behind our decisions and actions. It is very important to become aware of the influences deep inside our heart. Awareness is a key to a balanced way of life as well as our key towards contentment and becoming happy with what life offers us.

There is a famous story among the Cherokee Indians (this is just another story of the two wolves, there are also other versions with their twists). A grandfather told his  grandchildren a story of the black and white wolves. He said that inside us, there is a black and a white wolf always fighting. The black wolf is evil filled with anger, envy, greed, arrogance, hatred, and evil desires. On the other hand, the white wolf is good and filled with kindness, goodness, generosity, patience, love, faith, peace and gentleness. One of the grandchildren asked, “Which of the two wins, grandpa?” “It is the wolf that you feed,” the grandfather replied.

Certainly, our heart will be overwhelmed with anger and hatred, with greed and arrogance when we are also feeding the black wolf in us. In letting the black wolf win over the white wolf, we make ourselves slaves to our selfish tendencies. We make ourselves insecure and indifferent towards those who are around us. Thus, cultivating violence and anger in our heart will make us more violent and angry. Lingering on hatred and pain will also make us more desperate, hateful and sad. Fostering and doing unjust practices, corruption, dishonesty and unfaithfulness will just make us more corrupt, more hungry for power and control.

Look at those people fighting over a position just to secure their political dream and to assure an influential seat in order to gain control and dominance. As Christians, we can question their integrity in serving the common good particularly in the middle of a crisis. It seems that what is more important is position, influence, power and dominance, control and prestige.

Jesus pointed this out also among the influential people in the biblical times. The Gospel reminds us how Jesus confronted the pharisees and scholars of the law of their arrogance and self-righteous attitudes. These were the very people who secured influential status in their community but remained indifferent to the suffering of the public, and vicious and greedy. They were more concerned of their comforts and benefits rather that the good things they can give to the people through their status in the community.

This is something that Paul reminded us in his letter to the Galatians. Paul told us to be always conscious and be guided by the Spirit of God and not to become slaves of our selfish tendencies that will bring us only to further insecurity and desperation. Paul said, “if we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.”

While looking at the bigger picture of our community, let us also look at ourselves and examine the kind of wolf we are under influenced. The Lord does not want us to feed our insecurities and self-serving tendencies, that is, the black wolf in us. What the Lord wants is for us to recognize the Spirit of God dwelling in us, to nurture the spirit by living truly and following the Spirit of God.

Thus, today, Jesus calls us to feed the white wolf in us by allowing the Spirit of God to influence us, to overwhelm us and inspire our thoughts, decisions and actions. For us to follow the Spirit of God, there are two invitations that I want you to remember.

First. Think and remember the needs of others. We may have our own concerns in life, but there is no harm to become more aware and understanding of what others are also going through. By being able to see and understand others, we become more connected with them. This allows us to think less of our needs and not to linger more of our desires. We become less self-centered and begin to see the world through the eyes of those are most in need than us.

Second.  Pray. Pray for courage and the faith to respond to what you see. Do not just simply pray for our personal wants and desires, pray that we may become a life-giving person. It is by praying that we find strength and confidence in God that despite our own struggles, we become certain of His presence. We do not have to make extraordinary projects to help others and express our kindness and generosity. Extend help whenever we are called to. Express our generosity whenever somebody asks for help.

May these simple invitations guide us to truly live and follow the Spirit of God dwelling in us. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR


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