Reflections: January 2019

By Father Chris Thomas

The transformed heart

I have been watching a boxed set of Mapp and Lucia recently. There is a wonderful scene where Mapp asks an Indian guru if he is happy and the guru says ‘yes’ because he is following the way. The other day I opened up an old Pastoral review to see an article titled ‘Gratitude, a one-word summary of the Catholic faith’ and I remembered something that I’d read many years ago that only the grateful heart is the transformed heart.

I began to then ask myself questions. Do I have a grateful heart? Have I had a grateful heart this year? Am I grateful for the gift of life? Am I grateful for the people around me? Am I grateful for the air that I breathe, the creation that I live in? Am I grateful for the good and the bad that comes in life because of what it can teach me? The grateful heart is the heart that’s been touched by the Gospel.

Or is my life soured by negativity and disappointment? Am I always dissatisfied and critical? Is the world a bad place to be endured? Do I treat people badly? Do I only think of myself? Do I reject and push away those that I find difficult? They’re the signs of a heart that needs to be more open to transformation. I think if we are going to be honest, we probably all need to be more open to transformation. Transformation is at the heart of the Gospel and if we’re followers of Jesus, we have to follow what he was about.

Faith is not just about going to Church. Faith is about relationships that transform the heart so that it becomes the grateful heart that makes a difference around us. We have just begun a new year. It is a new beginning for all of us and anyone anywhere can have a new beginning so let’s pray that in our encounter with the Lord this year we will be filled with gratitude for everything we have been given. If we are not particularly grateful, then resolve to become more so. And if we are already grateful, then pray for more gratitude to spill forth into the lives of others.