In the Morning Office today, I read this refrain:
“Incline my heart, O God, to your ways. Turn my eyes from longing after vanities”Prayers for Summertime: A Manual for Prayer (The Divine Hours), Phyllis Tickle, p. 2
The first time I read this refrain, I focused of the whole first sentence: “Incline my heart, O God, to your ways.”
In the second instance of the refrain, this part stood out: “Incline my heart, O God, to your ways.” It drew my mind to what is in my own heart, especially the self-centered nature of my heart.
The third time the refrain was mentioned, I zeroed in on the last part of the first sentence: “Incline my heart, O God, to your ways.” In light of what is often in my own heart, reflected or unreflected, I do need to be brought back to God’s ways.
“Incline my heart, O God, to your ways.”
Later in the morning, this thought occurred to me:
What if my life actually reflected this refrain? What if Jeremy Mavis inclined his heart to God’s ways, all the time?
Well that would be heaven. Or at least like the garden of Eden, prior to humans gaining the knowledge of good and evil.
What if all I knew was good and not evil?
Then my heart would continuously be inclined to God’s ways without interruption. I wouldn’t know anything different. As it is, I do know both good and evil; and both good and evil is in Jeremy’s heart.
That’s why this repetitive refrain in the Morning Office today was so powerful for me: I am invited by God the Father to incline my heart to his ways. His ways are known to me. God the Son, Jesus, is the revelation of the heart of the Father. Jesus’ spirit, God the Spirit, fills and empowers his reconciled humans to actually live out this seemingly impossible refrain: “Incline my heart, O God, to your ways.”
I am repeatedly invited by the Holy Trinity to participate in the divine life where my heart is constantly inclined to their ways (and not mine).
Oh Lord, incline my heart to your ways. Amen.