“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” -Psalms 51:17
The Lord has asked us to come to him with a broken heart and contrite spirit (3 Nephi 4:49 RAV, 9:20 OPV). As we’ve already stated, a “broken heart” is a pierced heart. One open to both receiving and pouring out God’s Love, the true prayer now inscribed upon it. What then is the “contrite spirit?”
A Contrite Spirit
Merriam-Webster defines contrite as one “feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming.” Once the heart has been pierced and broken, upon realizing the harm Ego has caused, we feel guilt. This sorrow and remorse is expressed through our contrite spirits. This is a natural part of Teshuvah as we separate the darkness of Ego and move into the light of altruism.
While the broken heart helps draw us back, nearer to God, the contrite spirit allows us to right wrongs and mend harms done by Ego. There by, we become more like Elohim; the Creator, our Heavenly Parents. We know good from evil, we’re separating the light from the darkness. The broken, pierced heart has borne the fruit of faith in Jesus Christ. The contrite spirit brings us deeper, into repentance.
As Moved by the Spirit
These repairs, the act of repentance, cannot be made by us alone. They can only be performed with the help of Christ’s Grace. Further, our works cannot save us. They do not perfect us in any way. We’ve already been perfected in Christ. When we do any works, we’re merely following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
So why do we do them? Because we cannot help it. Christ’s Grace has transformed us. Our perception, our reality has changed. Our new actions are prompted by the contrite spirit within us and bears testimony to God, ourselves, and the world that we are saved.
This is why the Savior taught further that “whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not” (3 Nephi 4:50 RAV, 9:20 OPV). It’s not the laying on of hands that baptizes us in fire, we’re washed clean even before baptism by water.
We are washed by the cleansing light of God as our hearts are pierced and broken. The dirty cup filled by Ego is scrubbed clean and purified by the fire of the Holy Spirit. The further we grow in Grace, the deeper we are pierced, and the more God’s light is able to flow from us. The bitter cup is now filled with clean, delicious water that never ceases. It is because we have accepted Christ and replanted of our sins the Spirit moves us to be baptized by immersion, confirmed to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and partake of the sacrament of communion.
The Path of Teshuvah
This is not a onetime thing. Our conversion will deepen over and over as we grow in Christ’s Grace. This is why the steps of Teshuvah are repeated over and over throughout our lives as we grow in Grace.
After each day of rest, the Sabbath, the creation begins anew as we get upon the potter’s wheel and are remade into God’s image, further restored to the image Elohim created us in. This is in part what Jesus meant when he asked us to pick up our cross and follow him. His death was a pure act of altruism. It was the example of how far we will be willing to go once we are fully transformed back to our true selves.
This is also why denominations do not matter. As Christ taught, the Lamanites were baptized at the time of their conversion, by Christ, the change in their harts, and were completely unaware. When we are confirmed a member of a church, that confirmation is mirroring what has already been done spiritually here in the physical world. As above, so below; as below, so above.
With a broken heart and contrite spirit, we’ve already been baptized into the heavenly Church of Christ, the one true church. Any earthly confirmation can bring us into one of the branches within the vineyard of that church here on earth. Which denomination doesn’t matter, providing one is led there by the Holy Spirit. For, in the Lord’s house there are many mansions. So to, there are quite a few branches here on earth within God’s vineyard.
Now I will ask: have you been born again? Have you felt this mighty change through Christ upon you? Do you have this new prayer inscribed in your heart? Next, we shall explore the steps of Teshuvah that all may have a deeper relationship with God and his Christ.