|Let’s clean our hearts – Dec 7|
Regenerating the Moral and Spiritual Values of Our Society
By Vernon Khelawan
Last weekend two simple but significant statements made me sit up and take notice of what the season of Advent, leading up to Christmas, was really about. One came from my parish priest Fr Arnold Francis in his homily on Sunday morning and the other, later in the day, from a youthful singer called Rizon who performed at a Christmas dinner/concert at the Faith Centre, Port of Spain.
In two completely different environments, inside a 12-hour period, people were made to realise the importance of cleaning, not only their homes and surroundings, as is traditional at this time of year, but most importantly their hearts, as Rizon’s song “Ah Cleaning Dat” underscores. In it, he exhorted all to get rid of hate, anger, revenge, deceit and everything which, given a chance, will clingingly reside in our hearts.
Fr Francis told his congregation Advent was a preparation for the Kingdom and the material things were simply part of a social norm; the need for spiritual preparation was greater and we should all work towards that end. “Advent,” he said, “was waiting in joyful hope for the coming of Jesus Christ.”
Rizon was very passionate about his song, which showed in his lively presentation. At one point he had the audience singing with him as he exhorted them to clean their hearts as part of their Christmas preparations: a clean heart living in a clean home could make the Christmas celebrations so much better and meaningful.
It made me realise that while tradition dictates that much attention be paid to cleaning and decorating our homes and surroundings, preparing the seasonal dishes and, of course, ensuring enough libations for the various groups who might drop by to celebrate, it’s also a matter of a clean heart.
How does all this relate to the Third Pastoral Priority? It simply answers last week’s question: Where we went wrong? We have been paying increasing attention to the material things of life – the goodies, the parties, the traditional foods, the wish list of gifts – but the reason for the Christmas season we have all but forgotten. Let’s not miss the point, or the opportunity to clean our hearts.