• The heart of love and one of stone

    There was once a poor man who tolerated his fate because he had a heart of love. He was able to offer his love to his family and friends. They in turn reciprocated his love. To nurture his loving heart, he prayed often to God and meditated on the lives of saints who sacrificed everything for God and for the welfare of mankind. His thoughts returned often to Christ’s words,

    “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 KJV)

    These words of the Lord were the inspiration of his life. He could not imagine living any other way than by sharing his love of God with whoever he encountered. Yet, sometimes he would think how nice it would be if he was not so poor. He imagined that he could do so much more good to others if he had wealth to distribute in charity.

    He often took walks in the forest. Once he met an old man in the forest who offered him a means to gain great wealth. The old man said, “You can become very wealthy and help so many people if you agree to my proposal.”

    “What is that?” said the poor man.

    “If you permit, we can change hearts. You give me your heart of love and poverty and I’ll give you my heart of stone and unlimited wealth,” said the old man.

    “How can a heart of stone maintain my life?” said the poor man.

    “My heart of stone functions as good as a heart of flesh, said the old man. It is a miraculous pump that will last longer than your heart.”

    The poor man thought deeply about the offer. He reasoned that even if he had a heart of stone, he would be able to share his new found wealth and help many others by charity. He agreed to the proposal.The old man caste a hypnotic spell on the poor man. When the poor man revived from the spell, he no longer had a heart of love, but one of stone.

    On his return home, he had an uncanny ability to make money. Soon he became rich and prominent. He was so busy that he no longer had time to think about God nor engage in God’s service. Sometimes he became very angry when he was not successful in money matters. During his fits of anger, he became very harsh and insensitive and soon alienated his own family and friends. His mind was consumed with his own self importance. He disdained people who were not cleaver in making money and he was envious of those who were more successful than himself.

    When he had a heart of love, he never entertained such nasty thoughts. He was able to control his anger and he never felt envy. Now, he was chasing after money, power, reputation, position and pleasures of the senses so much that he was missing the endearing moments of shared love that he knew before. He was excited about acquiring money, but starved for love.

    He came to realize that life without love for God and fellow man was a curse that left one empty. His quest for money and power crippled his ability to love. He yearned for his heart of love whose richness was much more satisfying than mere riches gained by stone-hearted decisions that often deprived others for his own benefit.

    He was no longer able to pray to God as he did before nor feel empathy for others. He longed to have his heart of love again which he realized was more valuable than all the money in the world.

    One day he ventured into a church during a sermon. He sat down and listened to the priest retell the story of the rich man who approached Jesus and asked if he could also enter the kingdom of God. Jesus told him,

    17 “And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and knelt to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why call thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

    19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

    22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

    23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
    (Mark 10:17-25)

    The stone-hearted rich man prayed to God to give him the strength to follow the advice of Jesus. He became determined to give away his wealth, which he did gradually. As he distributed his wealth, his heart of stone transformed back to a heart of love.

    Published on March 10, 2010 · Filed under: , Heart;
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