“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” -Psalms 34:18
When teaching the people he had gathered in the Americas, Jesus did away with the sacrificing of animals. He asked for something more personal when he told them, “ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (3 Nephi 4:49 RAV, 9:20 OPV). But what does this mean?
The Agency of Mankind
Before we explain the broken heart, please note that everyone and everything has a soul. The Creation was spiritual before it was physical. Even before the spiritual creation we existed as intelligence throughout all eternity. Thus, you are eternal with God. Yet here upon earth we’ve been separated from God by the veil. Realizing this begins the process of remembering who we are, and who’s we are (Teshuvah).
The Ego asks two questions: what and who. God answers both questions with the same answer: Jesus Christ.
As we learn the answers to these questions, gaining a personal relationship with Jesus, we are awakened. Our hearts break upon remembering who we are in light of what we’ve become. The light is being separated from the darkness. This is why the first two principles of the Gospel are to believe in Christ and repentance. Christ is the iron rod, the Word of God, leading to the tree of life, out of the darkness and into the light.
A Broken Heart
In Kabbalah there is a story of a man trying to drink from a stream of fresh flowing water. He is thirsty but cannot drink because the water tastes bitter. He curses the stream. And, in his anger he continues to be thirsty. This despite the freely available water. Then, upon closer inspection he sees his cup is dirty. After cleaning his cup, he can drink in abundance, and enjoy the water, never again to thirst.
The water in this story represents the Love of God. The cup is our hearts. God gives us nothing but good, that which is best for us. But this water tastes dirty to us until we clean our cups. This is why we perceive pain in our world. Pain gives us perspective, allowing us to enjoy the pleasure. In addition, it allows us to grow so we are not simply slaves to the light. This realization is the broken heart. We stop blaming God and realize it is us, our hearts – our cups – that are dirty.
A broken heart is known as the Kabbalist “point of the heart.” This is a prayer written on our hearts, a plea to God. This happens because one feels in their heart the reality of God. Our perspective has now changed. We realize Ego has taken us from the path. We now wish for Teshuvah, to return to the path. One’s heart breaks as they realize they’ve been selfish. Now, through the Grace of Christ, we wish to be healed. Because the light has been divided from the darkness, our hearts are broken. We seek spiritual pleasures (the light) rather than personal or “worldly” pleasures of the flesh (the darkness). We’ve been born again.
Dividing the Light from the Darkness
Our hearts are kli, vessels that wish to be filled. Until we know God, this vessel is filled by Ego; our desires. Once our hearts are pierced the kli is filled, the light of God’s Love pours from us though altruism.
Even now, the earth is flooded, as in the days of Noah, with Ego. This harms us spiritually, economically, and as we’ve seen it’s destroying the earth. To fix this, we must continue dividing the light from the darkness throughout our lives, as we grow in degrees in Christ’s Grace.
Imagine the world as it might be in ten years or so if this flood of Egoism isn’t stopped. Climate change is creating super storms that are growing larger and more violent. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing; pitting man against man, neighbor against neighbor, and brother against brother (and sister against sister). The older generation blames the younger generation, and vice versa. Wars are escalating, and there are constant rumors, hints and whispers of new wars on the horizon. In short, the overwhelming power of Egoism is destroying us; it’s destroying the world.
In contrast, imagine now what would happen to the world if all mankind would come to God with broken hearts. With their hearts pierced, God’s Love would flood the earth, washing away the Ego. Rather than only helping ourselves, we would help one another in the spirit of ubuntu. Rather than simply taking from the earth, we would give back, caring for it as God has commanded us (Genesis 2:15). Rather than wars, we would work together reaping the benefits of unity, building, and trade. How much better things would be for all of us then!
The Pierced Heart
How do we do this? What is this pierced heart? It is a prayer. It is the true prayer. It’s not a vocal prayer, not even a prayer recited in our minds. It is a prayer in our hearts; it is a plea to God. More than this, the pierced heart is a sincere plea to God inscribed in our very souls. It mergers our eternal spiritual selves and our mortal, physically selves. God answers this plea the moment one’s heart is broken. We pray in our hearts for deliverance, and God obliges us immediately (Alma 3:25-29 RAV, 5:12-14 OPV). Christ’s Grace will continue to help unify us until he has fully perfected us, body and soul, at the resurrection.
This prayer comes to us the moment, in our most desperate hour, we realize we are nothing without God and desire nothing more than to be one with God (Avahr 2:11-17). In this moment we are Born Again.
This prayer determines our perception. Not our will, but God’s will be done. We are not victims of circumstance, but blessed by God in all things, even our struggles and challenges. Rather than pure Ego or blind Altruism we would find the balance that would enrich lives by doing God’s will, blessing all. As we grow in Grace, our perception continues to grow, changing our reality.
Dear reader, how I pray that you have been awakened and are beginning to remember! We know it is so when our hearts have been broken, pierced by the light. We perceive that it is good. And with this change in perception, the whole of our reality is born anew. We are a new creature, Adam or Eve, being born again unto God. We are finally returning to where we come from. We are on the path home.