In my own early days of formation, and sometimes even years after, a ply of the spanking hand of my mother helped to get me and keep me in line. Yet, there was nothing that moved me quicker to surrender than her tears. These worked wonders! I could not stand to see her cry. What was it within me so base, so hard, that could be melted only by witnessing a breakdown on her part? It was, as I learned later, my fallen human nature.
What I know now and did not know in my youth, at least by way of experience, is the fact that I came into the world damaged. My mind was dark, and so, quite dull, and my will was weak, and so, quite uncontrollable. I thrived on ego power and made its use my chief motivation for action. If what was asked of me suited me and enhanced that power, I responded quickly and easily. If what was asked of me seemed to me to lessen the expression of that power, I responded quickly and easily. If what was asked of me seemed to me to lessen the expression of that power, it took more than a team of horses to get me to obey. I found out that sulking, pouting and throwing tantrums got me nowhere, thanks to my mother's firmness and gentle tears. As I think of it now, it was much the same with me and Holy Mother Church. When she threatened me with mortal sin if I did not take up the penance of Friday abstinence, I responded more readily. Now, when she merely lovingly suggests that I do so, I find it much harder to go her way.
People of the world at large find themselves in the same difficulty when faced with the gentle and even comforting Words of the Gospel. This I will treat next week in the next installment in showing you some measures, when taken seriously, can help one to Pray with the Heart.