"Inspectio Cordis": Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 9

To receive Holy Communion, we are called to stand forth, to walk in procession toward God, the opposite of Adam’s choice. We have heard God’s Word proclaimed in the Liturgy, and placing trust in Him, we walk unafraid toward Him.

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 While his original text is worth reading, his examples and style can feel outdated to the modern reader.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.


Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle B
June 9, 2024

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

Before Holy Communion

1. “Where are you?”    
God, of course, knows the answer to this question. However, we do not always know the answer. Our bodies may be physically present in one place, but our minds are pondering matters of the past or future, while our emotions draw us elsewhere. We are not in one, single place.

Our response to God includes each of these aspects: where our body is, what our minds ponder, and the direction to which our desires draw us. Without this fundamental question, we feel lost, striving to accomplish or survive our lives on our own.

We are often not aware of where we are, but when we do slow down to answer, then we discover that God is Emmanuel. He is with us, wherever we are. Jesus desires our answer, so that in Holy Communion, He can enter the whirlwind of our lives and be with us there, exactly where we are (and not where we think we ought to be).

Where are you as you prepare for Holy Communion? To what places do you need Jesus to come, to be with you in your thoughts and emotions?

2. “I heard… I was afraid… I was naked, so I hid myself.”
Adam chose to hide, rather than confess his fault. The paradox of sin is that our response to God, who comes in search of us, is to hide. Rather than sharing the pain of our hearts, we become afraid and hide. The fallen world has taught us that we must protect ourselves, to assuage our fear that God – or others – may see us and find us unlovable.

To receive Holy Communion, we are called to stand forth, to walk in procession toward God, the opposite of Adam’s choice. We have heard God’s Word proclaimed in the Liturgy, and placing trust in Him, we walk unafraid toward Him. Our nakedness – our brokenness – does not provoke condemnation from Him. He invites us to Him first in the sacrament of reconciliation, where he restores our baptismal garb, so that we can confidently walk with others to receive Him in Holy Communion. 

What causes you to be afraid in your relationship with God or others? In what ways do you hide? How do you feel when you approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Communion?

3. “Why did you do such a thing?”
We may find ourselves routinely confessing similar sins. We know that we ought not to do such things, but we do not know why. Adam’s response is to blame Eve, who then blames the serpent. God’s question, however, aims at self-reflection: what are the reasons, motivations, desires, or emotions that led me to sin? If sin is the fruit of a bad tree, planted in bad soil, then to eradicate sin, it is not enough to pluck the fruit.

Given time, the tree will bear more sinful fruit. We need to discover the roots of the tree, to understand how our wounds have brought us to sin, often as a way of seeking consolation or easing our pain. But we are not required to do thorough introspection to discover this; we need only receive Jesus and allow Him to shine His light into the depths of our hearts, so He can reveal the reasons for what we do and so repent.

What sins do you find yourself confessing repeatedly? How can you invite Jesus to shine His light upon the roots of your sins through Holy Communion?

After Holy Communion

1. “Guilty of an everlasting sin.”
These words of Jesus have caused fear and even terror throughout the centuries for the scrupulous, who are concerned they might have committed this “unforgivable sin.” Indeed, how can one be guilty of such a sin, when the Psalmist proclaims that “with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption”? Jesus speaks here to the Pharisees and to all those who refuse to trust and believe in His mercy. The only sin that cannot be forgiven is the one for which we do not seek forgiveness; namely, the sin of impenitence, or lack of repentance.

The first effect of mercy entering our hearts is our awareness of our sin and hence the need for His abundant forgiveness. Similarly, if you become more aware of our wounds when you receive Jesus, then do not be discouraged. He comes with the light of His love to reveal your sins and bandage your wounds with His tender care. The more we are aware of our misery, the more we can receive of His mercy, and the further we are of ever committing this “everlasting sin.”

Where do you need Jesus to shed His light in Holy Communion? Of what sins are you slow to repent? How do you experience Jesus revealing your sins to bestow mercy in Holy Communion?

2. “Place us with you in his presence.”
The Father raises us from the death of sin to be with Jesus “in his presence.” To turn away from sin, to grow in holiness, to perform works of mercy, are all effects of being placed in the presence of Jesus. When we are near Him, we breathe in His Spirit of love and so share that same love with others.

Often, however, we lose a sense of Jesus’ presence throughout the week. Even though we have received Him in Holy Communion, we may feel disoriented or even far from Jesus. In such moments, we can pause, and before we make understandable petitions to the Father for our needs, we can make this most important petition: “Father, place me in the presence of Jesus.” With Jesus, we receive the Father’s blessing; apart from Jesus, everything shrivels and fades.

During the week, when do you lose a sense of Jesus’ presence? When or how do you need the Father to place you in Jesus’ presence?

3. “Whoever does the will of God…”
Holy Communion is incomplete for us to become brothers, sisters, and mothers of Jesus. Even though we may partake of His Blood and so be “related” to Him, as we share blood with our family relatives, our relationship with Him is complete only through doing the will of the Father. Christian life is more than avoiding sin or fulfilling obligations.

We are called to participate actively in building the Kingdom through small and great acts of love. So often, what we do during the week depends upon our duties, or when free of those, we act on our own desires. But in every moment, it is helpful to remember and consciously perform the will of God. And, when we find ourselves bored, or with free time to “kill,” we can ask Jesus to teach us how to do the will of our Father.

How often do you consciously do the will of God in your daily life? How can you ask Jesus for help in free moments or in boredom to guide you to do His will?

Next week: Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 16.
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