When St. Peter preached to the crowds on Pentecost Sunday, St. Luke tells us that his hearers were “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37). What does it mean to be cut to the heart? Well, we are cut to the heart when the Holy Spirit takes words being preached, or the words we read in Scripture, or our thoughts in prayer and uses them to penetrate our hearts. We are cut to the heart when we find ourselves welcoming the message, embracing its truth, and being moved to action. We are cut to the heart when everything within us says, “Yes” to what we have heard.
Those who heard Peter preach were converted – they were moved to changed their lives. Pope Saint John Paul II taught that conversion means: “to accept the saving sovereignty of Christ and become his disciple” (Pope John Paul II, Mission of the Redeemer). But this kind of conversion—a conversion that stems from being cut to the heart—is not a one-off event. Rather God wants to pierce our hearts with his love over and over again so that we will become more and more like his Son. In other words, conversion is an ongoing process.
Most, if not all of us, have areas in our lives that are not yet fully given over to God. In some cases, we haven’t dealt with them yet because we don’t want to give them up. But in many more cases, we simply are not ready to make a change. Fortunately for us, God is patient and kind. He is committed to bringing to completion the good work that he began in us at baptism (Philippians 1:6).
Every day, God wants to fill us with a fresh, new experience of his love and mercy. He wants to keep touching us so that the good work he started at our baptism can deepen and bring us to greater and greater transformation. But for that to happen, we need to allow his grace to pierce our hearts. We need to focus our attention on our Father’s boundless love for us. Then, with hearts softened by his love, we will be open to the power of the Holy Spirit to cut us to the heart time and time again