By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
Last week, my son decided unexpectedly to clean his room and his bathroom. I was a little confused at first because we have only been asking him to clean his room for the last three months. Why now? I wondered for a second, but I quickly decided to just be happy he was doing it and let it go. Then, a couple of days ago, he asked if he could do some extra chores for money; he is going to an event next month and is a little short on cash. I said yes. I came home to a sparkling clean house; he had cleaned behind the piano and even cleaned the ledge above the kitchen cabinets! Once I paid him his hard-earned money, he smiled and said: “Thanks, mom. I cleaned my room last week because I knew you would not pay me for extra chores if I had not done mine first.” I was glad that he understood how things work around here and that he took the necessary steps to accomplish his goal (not to mention how happy I was to have a clean house!), but this made me think about my own hidden agendas in my relationship with God.
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt 22:37). The first (and greatest) commandment goes straight to the heart of the matter; “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Mt 6:21). When we treasure anything (money, reputation, plans, health, etc.…) over the love of God, we create hidden agendas to try to both serve God and our own personal gods. These agendas are not hidden from God; they are hidden from us. They blur our vision and darken our minds. St. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Our restless hearts are divided, divided between the world and God, divided between love of self and love of God. “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other” (Mt 6:24). I find that often, even when I think I am serving God, my intentions are often mixed with a little bit (or maybe a lot) of serving self.
When we look into the depths of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we see hearts that love God completely; we see undivided hearts. These hearts are full of the fire of the Holy Spirit. We receive this purifying love at Baptism, when we are claimed for Christ. “A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. Do not drive me from before your face, nor take from me your holy spirit” (Ps 51:12-13). This purifying action it painful, and it is the work of our lifetime. This is why we beg for steadfast spirit, to endure our purification and reach our goal. “Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God” (Mat 5:8).