The heart is an ancient symbol of the deepest and most profound spiritual, emotional, and moral core of a person.
St. Antony says: “God loves to come into humble and compassionate souls, into souls that are full of discretion, that are penitent and devout; but He abandons cold and callous hearts, hearts that seek their own ease, that shrink from the smallest sacrifice, that show no love for prayer or meditation.”
St. Francis alerts us to a kind of spiritual heart trouble: “Those wants which do not come from reason, but from mere sensuality, are manifest signs of the loss of fervour. When the heart begins to grow tepid and draws away from grace, flesh and blood always seek to satisfy themselves.”
But, he reminds us: “In this valley of tears there is nothing of beauty or loveliness that can fully satisfy your heart.” Worldly things fail to warm the human heart, yet “if our hearts were inflamed with the love of our heavenly country, we should easily bear exterior cold.”
When one seriously considers all the graces and favors God has given to us and continues to give to us, we are moved to feel profoundly grateful. St. Francis remarks: “The inestimable price of Divine Love suffices to gain heaven; and the love of Him, Who has so much loved us, has many claims on our hearts.”
Blessed Bernard of Corleone notes: “God will be loved as God; that is to say, with fear, without reserve, in preference to all creatures, and without exception. He will not accept a divided heart; for unless the creature be loved in and for Him, it is like offering Him what the creature has left.”
Venerable Mary Cherubina says: “Ingratitude is a vice that grieves the God of love. Every sin of ingratitude wounds the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”
And, St. Leonard of Port Maurice adds: “Ingratitude shuts the door of our heart to the bounty of Heaven—gratitude opens it. If you desire free access to the treasures of Paradise, always show yourself grateful to your Sovereign Benefactor.”
Quotations from Flowers from the Garden of Saint Francis for Every Day of the Year (London: Burns and Oates, 1882).