SAINT PAUL OF THE CROSS, PRIEST (OPTIONAL MEMORIAL)
. . . ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Her son was due back from his first year away at a distant college. The mother was waiting expectantly, maybe a little anxiously, for his arrival. As she worked in the garden behind her house, she looked up every couple of minutes to see if he was coming. She made sure the gate was unlatched so that he could easily enter. She couldn’t wait to welcome him!
That’s the attitude of heart and mind that Jesus was hoping for when he advised his disciples to be like servants eagerly awaiting their master’s return. He may have been calling them—and us—to be ready for his return at the end of the age. But the truth is, Jesus is always knocking, always coming to us. He wants us to have a daily, growing relationship with him. He is looking for hearts that are like that unlatched gate—open and able to welcome him.
So what does an “unlatched” heart look like? Let’s start with the opposite. When our hearts are “latched,” or locked up, we close ourselves to the Lord. We might be afraid of what he might say to us or ask of us, so we don’t listen; we don’t even ask him. We might withdraw into ourselves because we feel shame or guilt and don’t believe we can be forgiven. We might be too bitter about the past or too wounded by someone close to us to open our hearts because we don’t want to be hurt again. Or we might busy ourselves with activities that we think are righteous but not see how our busyness might be keeping us from attending to God.
By contrast, when our hearts are “unlatched,” we are open to the Lord. We are listening for his voice instead of becoming preoccupied with activity. As the psalmist says, “Sacrifice and offering you do not want; you opened my ears” (Psalm 40:7). We don’t forget that we have been forgiven, and therefore we trust in the One who has removed our shame. Our hearts are unlatched when we anticipate the future with hope.
Jesus will come to you, speak to you, and knock on the door of your heart today. How can you keep it unlatched and ready to welcome him when he does?
“Jesus, enter the gate of my heart. I welcome you in anytime.”