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With a heart

The story is told about a man who called the mental hospital with a strange request: to check Room 27. So the nurse checked, and told him that the room was empty. The man on the phone said: “Then I must have really escaped! Thanks!”

In today’s Gospel (Mt. 5, 17-37), Jesus reminds us that we cannot use adherence to the law as an escape from true righteousness. In other words, we must go beyond the letter of the law to the spirit of the law. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s story of The Little Prince captured this so well: “It is

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only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

“I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The kingdoms of this world operate, live, and thrive on manmade laws. The kingdom of God also operates, lives, and thrives on manmade laws, but go beyond them. The letter of the law is exact, definite, and strict. The spirit of the law is open, grace-filled, and goes beyond any measure.

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We celebrate Valentine’s Day on Tuesday. It is called Heart Day, to remind us that we have a heart, and that matters of the heart do matter. Do we have a Head Day celebration? I guess not. Why is this so? Maybe it is because every day is “head day” for many—and we need to be reminded, at least once a year, that people with a heart often see more clearly, more deeply.

Many of us are “smooth operators” because we operate from the head, or from the pocket, or from the mouth. In this realm, there is not much room for feelings, emotions, surprises, and extra miles. Control is the name of the game. Are you a smooth operator who wants to control

everything and everyone? Sooner or later, you’ll find out that you can’t.

The former Miss Universe, our very own Pia Wurztbach, put it so well when she said, “Confidently beautiful, with a heart.” It is our heart that completes us! So if you are intelligent, be intelligent with a heart. If you are rich, be rich with a heart. If you are powerful, be powerful with a heart. If you are religious, be religious with a heart. Have a heart. Don’t be heartless!

Gone too soon: Fr. Erick Y. Santos, OFS (54), of the Archdiocese of Manila, was a priest with a heart. And he was gifted with a wonderful sense of humor. He personified the joy of the Lord, and made so many people light-hearted, telling them not to take life so seriously because there is a God who is bigger than our problems. He heeded and lived Pope Francis’ call to radiate the joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium).

A beautiful February moon has been lighting up the sky these past few days. Many of us may not have seen it because we were too busy with “more important things” in life. Some saw it, and just looked at it. But for us who saw it with our heart, it brought us to a moment of peace, a moment of joy, or even to a moment of prayer.

Yesterday was the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the World Day of the Sick. How do we take care of the sick? With a heart. How do we deal with sickness? Likewise, with a heart. In our sickness, we are confident that we have a God who has a heart, and is always with us. We can offer our pains and sufferings vicariously for God or other people.

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Sharing with you this beautiful prayer with the heart: “Lord, enlighten what is dark in me; strengthen what is weak in me; mend what is broken in me; bind what is bruised in me; heal what is sick in me; and revive whatever peace and love that has died in me. This is also my prayer for my loved ones, my country, my friends, and even those who hate me. Amen.”

Think about this: “It is your heart that makes you the best of who you are. You are wonderful for what you are, not for what you have. Be a donor of love, not a beggar of it. Scatter the seeds of love with kind words and gentle ways. Pride makes us

artificial, but humility makes us real.”

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help us to live with a heart, and not to belittle matters of the heart. Amen.

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TAGS: adherence to law, Gospel, Inquirer column, Inquirer columnist, Inquirer Opinion, Jerry M. Orbos, Jesus, Moments, New Testatment, Pia Wurtzbach, religious with a heart
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