There is a saying that “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Hence, who does not want a clean house, a clean car, a clean bedroom, a clean chapel, and a clean person. In discussing cleanliness, a friend of mine casually said that we Filipinos are one of the top users of bath soap. He explained the reason is because many Filipinos take a bath twice a day. Even when it is winter, we take a bath. Even when we are in Europe and the shower area is so small, we take a bath. Up to now, the words of my lolo still play in my mind that never to go bed with street clothes. “You have to take a bath.”
Yet, the Gospel reminds us, that while cleanliness is very important, it should only be a reflection of what is in the inside. In other words, the mouth speaks what is the heart is full of.
Hence, the challenge is how to have a clean heart. Three ways:
- Avoid Anger. One of the emotions most people care about is anger. At times, the people they are mad with are not even in this life anymore. Yet, the anger still consumes them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Then, all of their relationships are affected because with one wrong word or action, they blow up and affect all the people around them. Ralph Emerson once said, “Every minute you are angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”
- Avoid Jealousy and Envy. The tenth commandment is “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods.” Yet, how many of us count our neighbors blessings and forget to be grateful for our very own. Eventually, we become lonely, insecure, and envious. No wonder then, that gossip, character assassination, putting down people follows. Someone once said, “Envious people put others down to raise themselves up.”
- Avoid Sin and Vices. There is a saying, “sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” Vice or virtue, it all starts small. Vice or virtue, it all comes from the heart.
In each Mass, we pray for a clean heart. May we forgive, may we always be grateful and may we live virtuous lives. Why a clean heart? The heart sees what is essential in life.