Heart In the Balance!

Proverbs 4:23

Keep your heart with all vigilance;
for from it flow the springs of life.

Years after our culture has absorbed the elementary lessons of hygiene in the physical and environmental realms, we remain perfect babes in the wood when it comes to mental and spiritual common sense. Every fool knows that you don’t drink from wells built next to toxic waste dumps. Not even a moron would say “My belching smokestack is my personal smokestack and has no effect on anybody else.” Nobody says, “I’m strong. So it’s okay for me to jog behind insecticide spewing trucks or eat this mad cow infected meat.” But fools say things like this everyday when it comes to moral and spiritual pollution. They say you can fill your mind with slime from the tube and it won’t affect them because they’re “strong in their hearts.” They say media can belch airwave pollution 24/7/365 and it won’t affect the culture (though 30 second ad cost a million dollars and manufacturers gladly pay this to have “no effect”). They say that we can feed our souls on the toxic waste of sleaze TV, violent and misogynistic music, ugly art, and loveless, soul-dead stories and it will not affect “my personal truth of the moment.” Scripture says differently. “Keep your heart.” Feed it on what is true, good, noble and beautiful and you will become that way. Feed it on junk and the effects on your heart will be as predictable as the effects of a diet of radioactive waste and potato chips on an Olympic athlete: No matter how healthy he was to start with, he’ll die.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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