“The day on which God has unrestricted power over our hearts we shall also have unrestricted power over his”—St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
By Virginia Fraguio
13 August 2018
We want to see you, Lord. We want to see you in heaven, but also here on earth. We want to be “pure and blameless for the day of Christ” (Phil 1:10). We have our bodily hearts treated by competent doctors, we keep our blood flowing to stay healthy. We wash, vest, and adorn our bodies and make them clean and beautiful. But, it does not seem to be working, Lord. In our attempts to see you and experience you, are we beginning in the wrong place? A voice from our childhood’s innocent heart echoes from the past: “The fox said to the little prince: ‘Now here is my secret, a very simple secret: it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’”  Begin with the heart! That’s it! It is our hearts that are not clean as they should be, according to your beatitudes and precepts that emanate like life-giving water from your most Sacred and Impeccable Heart.
The human heart might be described as the core of the soul from where the decisions on life and death spring up. Is this an exaggeration? Most certainly not. Life means no less than openness to God’s Spirit: it is characterized by docility and holiness. On the other hand, the consequence of sin, which is characterized by a rejection of God, is death and can result in eternal separation from him. The heart is the throne created and reserved only for God. Those whose hearts are pure are in communion with God and are, therefore, loving, repentant, decent, and docile, allowing God’s Spirit to freely work in them, which may be through both consolation and desolation. St. John of the Cross, Carmelite master of the purgation of the soul whose own heart was purified by the fire of God’s love, teaches us:
Cleanness of heart is nothing less than the love and grace of God. For the clean of heart are called by our Savior ‘blessed’; which is as if he had called them ‘enkindled with love,’ since blessedness is given by nothing less than love. 
Now that we know the key is to begin with the heart, we find that although we try and try, we seem to frequently fail. The confusing thoughts, unbridled emotions, distorted perceptions, bad decisions go on and on. You teach us, Lord, as you taught St. Augustine, that it is only your grace that will give us a pure heart  to see the world through your eyes. Only your Holy Spirit dwelling in us, seated on the throne of our hearts, will allow us to see you, Lord—see you in our daily affairs, see you in our brothers and sisters, see you in the times of temptation, desolation, loneliness, despair and in times of joy and peace. Because we can only see you with the eyes of our hearts, hear you with the ears of our hearts, feel you with the emotions of a transparent, impeccable heart. Only you can achieve it for us. Just like you did for your (our) Most Blessed Mother, conceived immaculate, full of grace and purity.
May each of us pray today, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to you, most pure and loving Lord: “A clean heart create in me, God; put a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps 51:12). May the Holy Spirit remind us that by purifying first our eternal hearts where you dwell only then will our mortal bodies become your loving, moral, ethical, and chaste temples . May we surrender our entire lives to you, offering our poor hearts of stone, contaminated by a confused, selfish, corrupted, and alienated world, that only you, Divine Physician, can heal. Purify each of us and our families, our ordained ministers and leaders, our Catholic Church, businesses and charitable organizations, all governments and nations; heal our (your) whole world, merciful Lord. And only then will your Kingdom come and reign as you wish.
Grant that we may always understand that purity is not our own achievement, but your precious gift and a grace granted by you when we ask for it. May we remember the need to guard our hearts daily from the stain of sin if we wish to see your Holy Face in all entrusted to us by you. Only then will we fully appreciate the sanctity of all human life, achieve true love, peace, and joy for ourselves and others, flowing from a purified heart—the throne from where your Divine Heart wants to reign forever. May we join the Carmelite martyr of Auschwitz in reflecting:
Does our prayer truly come from a completely purified heart? Have we truly prayed ‘in the name of Jesus’, i.e., not just with the name of Jesus on our lips, but with the spirit and the mind of Jesus, for the glory of the Father alone, without any self-seeking? The day on which God has unrestricted power over our hearts we shall also have unrestricted power over his. 
Finally, we wish to thank you, Holy Trinity, for the gifts you always impart to us for our constant conversion of heart: the Sacraments of Baptism, Holy Eucharist and Penance. You wash and imbue us with your purifying, sanctifying grace to make our hearts like you created them to be: spotless and transparent to shine brightly with your radiant light of love in your Church and in the whole world.
Lord Jesus, make our hearts like unto thine!
 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, El Principito, New York, NY: Harcourt Inc., 1971.
 St. John of the Cross, The Dark Night of the Soul, E. Allison Peers, transl. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2003.
 St. Augustine of Hippo, The Confessions, M. Boulding, transl., Hide Park, NY: New City Press, 2016.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed. Washington, DC, United States Catholic Conference, 2000. [Purification of the Heart, 2517-2533].
 St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), The Collected Works of Edith Stein. The Hidden Life. Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts, Waltraut Stein, transl. Washington, DC: ICS Publications, 2014.
Image: Photo by Claudia Aracama. Used with permission.
Virginia Fraguio is a Secular Discalced Carmelite pursuing her Master of Arts in Theological Studies at the University of St. Thomas at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, Texas. She is passionate about the truth, spreading the Catholic faith and spirituality, going on pilgrimages, and the international dimension of the Universal (Catholic) Church. Virginia was born in Argentina and grew up in Japan. After living in Brazil for some years, she was brought to the United States by her U.S. employer twelve years ago.