Someone once said that “If you want to know where your heart is, look where your mind goes when it wanders”. What you focus on becomes your reality.
It’s fitting that our Lenten readings are well-timed with Valentine’s Day. Each year on this day, we place our focus upon our significant other. Through gifts like flowers, candy, a special date, we show that person our love and devotion.
When we do such things, we treat that person as central to our lives. The same can be said about the devotion we show our God.
Look to our reading from Deuteronomy. Before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Moses urged them to never forsake God. By continually blessing God with their first fruits, they constantly remind themselves of God’s importance.
Now look to our reading from Psalms. The psalmist reminds us of God’s greatness:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, abides under the shadow of the Almighty. He shall say to the Lord, “You are my refuge and my stronghold, my God in whom I put my trust.” Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your habitation, There shall no evil happen to you, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
Because God loved us first, we feel compelled to love God back. Through focusing our hearts and minds to God, we build up our trust in him. Over time, our faith blossoms.
It is as the apostle Paul reminds us: “Because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
But this devotion of the heart can also go the other way. When you allow temptations to rule your mind, your heart wanders away from where it should be.
In our Gospel, Jesus faces temptations that you and I face everyday. With his first temptation, Jesus must choose between self-reliance or dependency upon God.
With the second, self-importance (seeing ourselves as equals to God) or humility before God.
With the third, questioning God’s ability or having faith that nothing is impossible with God.
In each of these temptations, the Devil places us on a slippery slope. We begin to fool ourselves into thinking that we are in control. We start to convince ourselves that we can be independent of God.
So where does your heart lie? Wherever your mind is, that is where it dwells. On this first Sunday of Lent, may your heart and mind seek to lie where God dwells.