Functionally, the heart is no more than an organ designed to pump blood throughout the whole body. No more, no less. It does not create blood. That is the function of the bone marrow. The heart does not even cleanse the blood. That is the work of the lungs through oxygenation. And yet, the heart has been romanticized as the core of our being, the center of who we are and the source of all the goodness that is in man.
I remember the first stirrings of adolescent love in me. Its main manifestation were the faster and stronger heart beats I felt on seeing my crush. Is it any wonder then that I would equate falling in love as function of the heart? Whenever I did something good or something that made my parents proud, I felt a certain warmth and glow radiating from my center. Whenever I thought of doing something good or great, it seemed to emanate from this core and center of my being. It is significant that the heart is located at the physical center of my physical body. My heart is physically, functionally and symbolically the core of my being.
All in all, these thoughts intimate to me that I am more than the sum of my body parts. The brain is where thoughts and emotions take place. Yet, in common everyday language, the brain is seen as the seat of reason and the heart is source of emotions. Man usually bases his decisions on whether it stands to reason or because of his emotions. Often we use reason to reach a decision. But there are also many instances where the heart trumps reason because “the heart has its reasons that reason does not comprehend.” There are also instances where man acts purely out of his guts or his instincts.
All of these experiences tell me that beyond all the functioning of my body and its different parts, there is still a big part of me that is and exists. It is that part of me that wants to do good for myself and for others, the part that seeks and sees beauty in the wonders around me and in the people who come into my life, the part that quests and searches for the truth of who I am and why I am here.
There are times such experiences are exciting and exhilarating. There are times when such experiences are difficult and very challenging. It is this doing, seeking and questing part of me that Jesus addresses when He says the words in today’s Gospel reading – one of my favorites quotes from my earliest days. Yes, the Lord is kind and His kindness is everlasting.
The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”