How Can the Word of God Take Root in Our Hearts?

Advent 4 Friday

Luke 2:19

“But Mary kept all these words and pondered them in her heart.”

We should note these words well and learn from them how we should properly hear God’s Word…Mary diligently pursued these words, just as those do who firmly keep God’s Word, seek after it and pursue it: The longer they do this, the more they find greater understanding and comfort in these words and become more and more certain of their faith. Yet among the profane spirits, the words go in one ear and out the other, no matter how much you preach to them; it is as if you hit water. Mary does not do this. The Word mattered to her. This is why she retains it, writes it in her heart, and ponders it, that is, she pursues it, thinking to herself: “It is strange news that I should be the mother of the child about whom the angels preach that he is the Savior of the world, calling Christ the Lord.” By such thoughts, these words sank deep into her heart so that she had to keep them. Even if the entire world were against it, no one would have been able to take this from her or tell her otherwise; she would have remained firm in her conviction that her son was God’s Son and the whole world’s Savior. We should follow this example of the dear mother of the Lord (this is why it was written for us) and imprint the Word on our heart with such diligence that it becomes second nature. In Song of Solomon 8:6, God says: “Set me as a seal upon your heart and as a seal upon your arm.” He does not want his Word only to be on our tongue, like foam on water or spittle in the mouth we spit out, but wants it to be imprinted on the heart so that it remains the kind of imprint no one can wash away, just as if it were grown like that and a natural thing no one can scrape off. The virgin Mary had the kind of heart where these words of the angels remained as if engraved. All, therefore, who grasp the Word in this manner have the true character of Christ, the true seal. They do not allow others to take the Word from them, even if sectarian spirits arose or the devil himself attacked them. They stick firmly with what they once heard
and believed. But with the others, even if they hear the Word and are amazed by it, the Word does not remain for long and is soon forgotten. Here we must note: If God’s Word is to take root like this also in our heart, we must deal with it more diligently. We see in the young people that we must regurgitate and inculcate a thing many times before they grasp it, while we think that such great things are easily and effortlessly grasped. We are wrong by far. Most people, as soon as they leave the sermon and worship service, have other things to take care of, so that very few think about what they have heard and learned from the sermon. But it is not right that we should give much thought to what is least important. We are to seek first the kingdom of God, that is, we should take care of it most of all, but we do the opposite, being more
concerned about our business dealings, food, and entertainment than about God’s Word. Otherwise we would think about God’s Word at least as often and as diligently and treat it as seriously as our other dealings. But this doesn’t come to pass. And it is then not surprising that it takes shallow roots so that we forget it as soon as we find ourselves in trouble. But this is not how it should be among Christians. God’s Word is their greatest treasure; this is why the Word is also in their heart. And even though they must engage in worldly dealings, the heart always leans to the side it
values most.

St. Louis ed., 13.1:80-82

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