Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”
When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, “Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)
And he said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“Take Lord and receive, all of my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will,” is the opening line of the “Suscipe.” This is the prayer St. Ignatius gives us in the fourth week of the Spiritual Exercises.
For many years I wondered what Ignatius meant by the word “will” in this prayer. I think it is what Jesus is talking about in today’s gospel when he refers to “from within, from the heart.” It is that which I really desire and intend in the depth of my heart. It is up to me to honestly know these things and keep them well-ordered. When they are not such, they result in the litany of evils which Jesus enumerates for the disciples.
Lord, I pray for the grace to honestly look into my heart and know what is most dear to me. Let me rejoice in that which is good and rid myself of that which is bad. I know that hatred, selfishness, and destructive pride are all things within me, not things forced upon me from without. Let me make the treasures of my heart worthy of offering to You.
—David McNulty works for the Midwest Jesuits. Dave and his wife Judy are grandparents of six.
Take, Lord, receive all my liberty, my memory, understanding, my entire will, all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.
—St. Ignatius Loyola (Click here to download this prayer card.)Please share the Good Word with your friends!