My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings...Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
- Proverbs 4.20, 23
O beloved, truly chaste Christ, to whom every eye is clear, may the grace of the sevenfold Spirit come to keep [my thoughts], to hold them in check. Rule this heart of mine, O swift God of the elements, that you may be my love, and that I may do your will!
- Anonymous, “On the Flightiness of Thought,” Irish, 8th/9th century
The heart and mind are two of the components of the soul. Along with the conscience they make up that complicated gearbox of immaterial machinations which processes thoughts and feelings, through the grid of values, priorities, and will, into actions.
What happens in our souls determines what we say and do. The truly spiritual person conducts an ongoing vigil over his soul, keeping heart and mind in line with the teaching of Scripture, and fortifying the conscience with fresh oil from the Law of God each day.
The consequences of not paying attention to what’s happening in our hearts and minds can be disastrous, as Solomon knew. Our thoughts can fly off in all kinds of directions, and our affections can quickly get away from us when passion begins to rise, causing us to love what we ought not love, and leading us to forsake love of God above all else.
This is why it’s so important that we daily reinforce the works of the Law which God has written on our souls (Rom. 2.14, 15) with the spiritual nourishment of His Word. Enlighten your mind with the truth of God. Straighten your affections by the counsel of the Lord. Strengthen your conscience so that love for God and man is the commanding default, and your conscience will keep your heart and mind in check, and fit them for proper service to the Lord.
But none of us is strong enough to do this on our own; we need God’s Spirit daily bolstering our resolve, renewing our minds, and purifying our hearts. Cry out to Him, and listen for His promptings, and you will find the path He calls you to walk (Ps. 139.23, 24).
Is your daily regimen of reading, meditation, and study in God’s Word sufficient to shape your soul in the direction of loving God and man? Are your prayers sufficiently in tune with the Spirit to allow Him to plant the Word of God deep in the soil of your soul?
Psalm 139.1-5 (Ripley: “Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah, O My Soul”)
You have searched, me, Lord, and known me, when I sit and when I rise;
From afar, my thoughts discerning, all my path before You lies.
Every word, before it’s spoken, You behold and know it well.
Both behind me and before me, Your sweet presence I can tell.
Lord, renew Your light in me by Your holy Word and Spirit; let Your truth conceive in my soul, so that I might know You, Lord. Adapted from Eriugena, Homily on John 1.1-14
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T. M. Moore, Principal
 Davies, p. 261.