Notebook

Listen to Your Heart

‘You should only listen to your heart!’ This is the message of Cristina Scuccia, until recently the world’s best-known religious sister, now a waitress in Spain, as one can read in the report, Italy’s singing nun casts off her veil. ‘You should only listen to your heart!’ It sounds great; but is in reality an ambiguous counsel. What if my heart tells me one thing today, another tomorrow? Anyone who has lived more than a half-conscious life knows that Jeremiah, when he wrote, ‘the heart is deceitful above all things’ (17:9), wasn’t just engaging in prophetic hyperbole. The heart isn’t spontaneously faithful. It pulls us in different directions, susceptible to ephemeral charms. St Cecilia, whose feast it is today, prayed: ‘Let my heart be immaculate, lest I be confounded’. That is a wholly different approach. It involves the ascesis of letting my heart be cleansed before I trust its inspirations. Living in this way taught Cecilia steadfastness to the point of martyrdom. It made her a saint.