"Inspectio Cordis": Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 16

The way we can notice that the seed of Holy Communion bears fruit, that we grow in holiness, is by how we provide shade for the “birds of the sky,” for our neighbors, far and near. Such love does not need to be complicated or miraculous; like shade from a tree, it is a natural part of life, the effect of living in the love we receive from Jesus in Holy Communion. The more you grow with Jesus, the more you can love your neighbor, and the more shade you provide.

By Fr. Thaddaeus Lancton, MIC

A gaze of the heart. Examining the depth of one’s heart.

There is no one way to translate the Latin title Inspectio Cordis, given to the collection of meditations for Sundays by the Founder of the Marians, St. Stanislaus Papczyński (1631-1701).

These meditations, published weekly on Fridays in preparation for the Sunday Mass, follow the style and purpose of our holy Father Founder. While his original text is worth reading, his examples and style can feel outdated to the modern reader. As his spiritual son, I will attempt my best to imitate his style and imitate his ministry of preaching to hearts.

The goal is to allow Jesus to gaze into your heart and teach you self-examination, leading you to a more fruitful reception of Holy Communion, where there is a true encounter of our hearts with His Sacred Heart – especially fitting during this period of National Eucharistic Revival.


Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle B
June 16, 2024

This Sunday’s Inspectio Cordis meditation uses the original meditations – in the quotation marks – from St. Stanislaus Papczyński. 

Before Holy Communion 

1. “As I, the LORD, have spoken, so will I do.”    
The emphasis in Ezekiel’s parable is upon divine action, namely, all that God Himself is and will do. He will bring forth life, making the withered tree flourish, and bringing death to the high or prideful tree. Pride, in this context, is undue emphasis upon what I can do or accomplish on my own, by my efforts or talents. Given this emphasis upon what God accomplishes, the attitude necessary on our part is humility, for God exalts the humble but humbles those exalted.

Just as God renewed all things after the flood through Noah’s ark, so, too, through Baptism and our participation in Christ’s sufferings, God renews our life. Our part is to place our confidence in His promise, acting in accord with faith in Him who is faithful to us. He will accomplish His work of renewal in us through each Holy Communion. Our part is allowing Him to crush any pride and soften our hearts in humility, so that He has full freedom to act.

Where do you struggle with pride? How can you allow the Lord to humble your heart? Where do you need the Father to fulfill His promises to you?

2. “They that are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.”
Much literature has been written – both secular and Catholic – on the topic of flourishing. St. Augustine, as quoted in the Catechism, states that all men and women seek and desire happiness. All that we do is driven by that need for flourishing. Yet, the “million-dollar” question remains: where and how do we attain such a satisfying life? The Psalmist declares the answer: our lives, our hearts, are to be planted in the “house of the Lord.”

This is part of the reason the Church requires that we attend Mass each Sunday. Some balk at the idea of “obligation,” but the Church, as our good Mother, knows that no flourishing, no life is found apart from the “courts of our God.” The more we allow the roots of our lives to enter the soil of His house – through prayer, sacraments, and loving service – the more our hearts will flourish. Each Holy Communion increases our capacity to flourish, in this life and eternally in the next.

Where do you tend to seek happiness? How can you remain grounded in the ‘house of the Lord’ during the week?

3. “We are always courageous…”
Twice in the second reading, St. Paul states that we are “courageous.” To live by faith, rather than by sight, requires fortitude. To seek to please Him in all things demands courage. There will be many things that others have – including an apparent happiness – that we will lack. Fear of missing out on the good things of life is a reality, especially when the media confront us with the seemingly endless possibilities for enjoyment and pleasure. Christians can face their fears, not only because of external dangers, but above all, the hidden fears of their hearts, of denying themselves and living solely for Christ and His Kingdom.

Each Holy Communion strengthens our courage, because we are filled with a love that casts out our fears. Even more, Jesus in Communion becomes present, so that we give up pleasures of this world not for some idea, but for His living presence dwelling in our hearts and lives.

What fears do you have? Where do you struggle to live by faith, rather than by sight? How can you live in a way that is pleasing to the Lord, ready to encounter Him in judgment? 

After Holy Communion

1. “The seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.”
Jesus’ comparison of the Kingdom to the dynamic growth of a seed into a plant reveals the hidden power of God at work in the Church. Zealous Catholics intend to grow in holiness, and rightly so, for that is the Father’s own desire for each of us. However, our capacity is limited. We can, like the farmer, remove the weeds, prepare the soil, and water the seed. But the actual growth is due to the Holy Spirit, who is the “Lord and giver of life.”

Similarly, in our spiritual lives, our growth in holiness is dependent, above all, upon the Lord. If we provide the correct conditions – avoiding sin, living our faith, frequenting the sacraments – the “seed” of each Holy Communion will sprout, grow, and yield fruit in our lives. We know not always how we grow in holiness, but we can be confident that His Kingdom grows in us and in the Church. Our task is a trustful docility and patience that gives time and space for the seed of Communion to grow.

How zealous are you for growth in holiness? How can you entrust your growth to Jesus in Holy Communion? What weeds do you need to remove for the seed to grow?

2. “The harvest has come.”
The Old Testament associates the harvest with judgment. St. Paul also mentions that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” The goal of any growth of a seed is for the plant to be harvested, and the end of our development is the ability to face Christ on his judgment seat. For many, that is a harrowing, fearful prospect. Yet, we face Christ in Holy Communion each week. The same Jesus who so lovingly enters our hearts, to purify us from sin and inundate us with His love, is the same Jesus who will judge our lives according to our deeds.

Holy Communion is a foretaste of judgment, both at death and at the end of time, whereby we will see the truth of our hearts and actions in the light of His love. For now, we are given time to grow and develop, so that our hearts and actions align with His own, so that when the harvest comes, we enter His Kingdom with confidence and joy rather than shrinking away in fear. We need not fear judgment, as if Jesus – so tender in Holy Communion – becomes harsh when we die. As we prepare for such an intimate encounter in Holy Communion, so we prepare for the final encounter, which is the gateway to entering the marriage feast.

What emotions do you feel when thinking of judgment? Where do you need to grow in alignment with the heart and actions of Christ? 

3. “The birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
The image – taken from Ezekiel in the first reading – harkens to the idea of an empire, which harbors many nations within its dominion. But the mustard seed, growing into the “largest of plants,” can also be understood as a figure of our hearts and souls. As we grow in holiness and communion with the Lord, we will provide shelter and shade to others. In short, we will provide comfort in pain and refuge in danger. Our love for Jesus bears fruit in love for neighbor.

The way we can notice that the seed of Holy Communion bears fruit, that we grow in holiness, is by how we provide such shade for the “birds of the sky,” for our neighbors, far and near. Such love does not need to be complicated or miraculous; like shade from a tree, it is a natural part of life, the effect of living in the love we receive from Jesus in Holy Communion. The more you grow with Jesus, the more you can love your neighbor, and the more shade you provide.

In what way can you provide shade – comfort, refuge, rest – for others this week? What neighbors most need the gift of your shade?

Next week: Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 23.
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