07 April 2010

Hearts on Fire

"Were not our hearts burning within us when he spoke to us?" At some point we've all felt a tug, a burning, a feeling much deeper than the quotidian joys and sorrows which await us each day. It's usually something connected with our deepest sense of who we are and who we know we were created to be. Former Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice, spoke at our commencement exercises a few years back and she described how she felt when she walked past a Russian history class that was overflowing with students; she described how it changed her life and she talked about the challenges of switching her major from music to political science. She described the experience as following her passion -- something which she encouraged our graduates to do as they leave us.

How many married couples can pin-point a moment when they had a *sense* that they would like to spend the rest of their life with this particular person. It's usually not a logical conclusion or the result of a mathematical equation. Most of us in religious life, similarly, can speak about a moment when we had a deep sense of the Lord calling us to this or that particular community, a feeling which cannot be rivaled by the outcome of a vocation-match placement test or a personality index.

Like the disciples, we do not always recognize the significance of our "burning hearts" in the moment when we're set ablaze. Sometimes it is only after the fact that we realize just how important a particular experience was for us. Perhaps, as we begin our Easter journey, we can recall with gratitude those times when the Lord has set our hearts on fire with His love. Sometimes it is helpful to revisit scripture passages or spiritual writings which may have served to "fan the flame" in our hearts.

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