Prayer for Illumination
Spirit of faith, come down, reveal the things of God,
And make to us the God-head known, and witness with the blood.
‘Tis thine the blood to apply and give us eyes to see,
Who did for every sinner die hath surely died for me.
-Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
When Jesus had finished these words, He departed from Galilee and came into the region of Judea beyond the Jordan; and large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there. Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?”
And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to ‘give her a certificate of
divorce and send her away’?”
He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.”
But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”
“Because of the hardness of your heart,” he says. Hardness of the heart not only disrupts our relationship with God; it also destroys our relationships with others.
Friendships and marriages have ever been in danger by hardness of the heart. But our Lord Jesus invites us to something better: hearts softened, selfishness erased, love shed abroad.
Relationships are enabled by the lifting of hearts to him, the giving of our hearts to one another. And even when we feel our hardened hearts are too heavy, too heavy to lift them unto him, he gives us more grace.
“Lift up your hearts.” “We lift them up.” Ah me!
I cannot, Lord, lift my heart to thee:
Stoop, lift it up, that where thou art I too may be.
“Give me thy heart.” I would not say Thee nay,
But have no power to keep or give away
My heart: stoop, Lord, and take it to Thyself today.
Stoop, Lord, as once before, now once anew
Stoop, Lord, and hearken, hearken, Lord, and do,
And take my will, and take my heart, and take me too.
-Christina Rossetti (1830-1894,) “Sursum Corda”