Friday, January 11, 2013
ON HAVING GREAT HEART
As we approach Valentine’s Day 2013, stylized heart symbols of love will begin to appear all around us. Saint Valentine of Terni lived around 270 during a time of great Christian persecution. He cut small hearts from parchment and gave them to the persecuted as symbols of God’s love. He was imprisoned because he was administering to Christians and refused to denounce his faith. Legend tells us that before his martyrdom, he restored the sight of his converted jailer’s daughter. The day before his execution he sent a farewell message to the young woman signed, “From your Valentine”. Above all else, the heart has been associated with the concept of love throughout all human history. And we know that God loves His creation unconditionally.
Prior to his own execution by the occupying Romans, Jesus told his disciples that there was no greater love than to give your life for others. The ancients knew that the physical heart moved life sustaining springs of life or blood throughout the body and easily associated it as the seat of the human soul and the control center of the will. Our emotions, loyalty, attributes of character, love, etc. have since been relegated to the brain’s frontal lobe, but we still refer to an Olympian with heart as one with a passion for excelling. How we direct the course of our life with a purity of heart or pure motive determines our ultimate destiny. Proverbs 3 counsels us to trust in the Lord with all your heart and he will make your paths straight.
Of all the creatures God provided to us human beings, I believe the dog teaches us best about unconditional love and heart. And although we know our life span is much longer than our four legged companions, life is difficult when we lose them. But I recently came across a wise saying that dogs enter our lives to teach us about love and depart to teach us about loss. And when another dog comes into our life, he doesn’t replace that sacred spot in our heart but simply expands it.
People with great heart will always be recognized as natural leaders and passionate followers.