Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

"By Heart"

Last [summer] my daughter asked me to stay with her children (her almost four year old daughter, and one and a half year old son) for an hour or so while she attended to a task with focus. It turned out to be more delightful than I could have imagined, and a cause for simple, peaceful and enlivening reflection afterward.

I had barely come into the living room, when my granddaughter wanted to play a CD from vacation bible school that had been a key part of that week. Amazingly, and almost humorously, she had the dance moves almost down pat, perfectly. That is mainly because her mom, my daughter, had been responsible to lead the dozens of young children in their daily music activity. And as can be imagined, those songs had been played dozens of times at home in the previous month, so that they and their accompanying dances could be "taught" to the VBS participants. Not surprisingly, my granddaughter knew it all by heart.

Of course, the idea was that Grandma was supposed to follow her lead! Well, I did, and I experienced the greatest surprise - I was really flooded with joy!

It flashed through my mind while driving home (I might add that some of the route is through very lovely pastoral scenery), that a key to that joy was the freedom and focusing that came from jumping in. Here I was, sixty-three year old grandma, enjoying the fact that my granddaughter could be absorbed in the music, confident she knew it by heart.

All of a sudden it occurred to me that the "knowing by heart" is connected to drills, the repetition, a waiting period until all takes hold. And what happens with drilling? There's a boring through - not necessarily fun or exciting, but a definitive purpose to reach that opening, the destination. The knowing "by heart" is very connected with our whole being. And I see that displayed so exquisitely in the range of experiences by today's Saint, Elijah. There's the being still, the trekking, and the bursts, giving a glimpse of our God most Holy, most powerful, while most interiorly, gently working and abiding, giving rise to more than we can describe this side of heaven.

Written by "A Listening Heart"
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