Heart Trouble

Cardiac trouble is rampant on a world-wide scale. In order to solve this rising health problem maybe we are simply missing information.
by Kathryn M. Cunningham, MAPS | Source: Catholic.net
In our perfection obsessed, fix it now, society there is nothing more troubling than the statistics on what ails us as a global people.  According to recent surveys, the number one killer, worldwide, is “cardiovascular disease”, heart trouble.  The Bible cautions us to pay attention to the “signs of the times”.  Could it be, that as a people, we are completely missing what is right in front of our very eyes?  In our technically focused world in general, and our nation in particular, we have a disturbing tendency to “go for the fix” as fast as we can.  We scan, medicate, operate and even transplant, with great haste in order to fix the problem, without much thought, in order to pronounce the patient “fixed” after all the tinkering has been accomplished. We know the “mechanics” inside and out.  We arrogantly treat the “problem” and not the person.  Then we diligently and obsessively test for: good and bad cholesterol, sodium, vitamin D, calcium and an endless variety of things as if our “monitoring” could control something.  Perhaps a broader view of who we are and what we are could shed light on our heart troubles and give an insight as to what is really happening in our world.

As a society, we frequently talk about matters of the heart and there is not a movie, book or celeb story that doesn’t involve a “heart matter” in some way shape or form.  Much of what we call news today is also focused on broken hearts, wounded hearts and heartlessness.  So the idea of a heart out of order is simply pervasive and all around us.  Could it be that the line between the emotional heart, the physical heart and the spiritual heart doesn’t really exist and is not as clearly defined as medicine surmises it is?  Might it be that the spiritual heart and the physical heart are really connected in ways that we refuse to see and that “fixing” the physical is really a useless exercise unless the spiritual/emotional is treated too?   People actually do die of a broken emotional heart!  This idea is not a new one, the Chinese have focused on the connection between mind, spirit and body for about six-thousand years and Christian theologians have written much about the heart and its’ place in our relationship to God as well as others.  In our head long race to treat the object, the physical heart, we have completely lost sight of the other components of what makes a heart healthy and sound.  “What was the sin of Lucifer but to resolve to be his own master? What was the sin of Adam, but impatience of subjection and a desire to be his own god? …unbelief, …pride, of the heart rising against the law of God. [These] were our haughty contempt of his ordinances, our determination to do things for ourselves without him, our preference of our own reason to his word.” (Venerable John Henry Newman †1890)   In our rush to “improve the world” we have completely eliminated any consideration of what might really be the root cause of “heart trouble”; a divided heart that seeks everything that is not God in order to be satisfied.  Have we caused our own “heart trouble” by energetically moving away from the creator of the original equipment?  Once someone’s heart trouble is diagnosed there really is no cure.  We do a lot of temporary measures to extend the life of the sick heart but we really never cure it.  

The bible lends timeless wisdom about the heart. Solomon tells us that if only we keep focused on God that the state of our heart becomes a door way for God to give us only the best; “Lord God of Israel, there is no God like you in the heaven above or on earth below; you keep your covenant of mercy with your servants who are faithful to you with their heart”. (I Kn 8:23 Jerusalem Bible)   The great Father of the Church, St. Augustine, keenly observed: “ … for thou hast made us for thyself and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in thee.”   This quote has even more meaning when you understand that Augustine’s mother prayed for his conversion for thirty years as he went from girlfriend to girlfriend, a mega party life-style and an illegitimate child.  Like today’s culture, he tried it all only to find out that his “heart trouble” could only be remedied by God.

So when we try to figure out what is causing the multiplication of heart trouble in our modern culture, maybe we are simply looking at the wrong things?  It’s true that bad diet, lack of exercise and stress are all bad things for the heart.  The ultimate tonic though is not something you can swallow or accomplish on a treadmill or in a surgical suite.  It’s the way we think and where we turn our attention first.  God created the heart and its marvelous mechanics.  If it is the Father who is the total and ultimate concern of our heart, mind and spirit perhaps there would be no room for any disease to find a space there?  "All [that] he undertook ... while seeking God [he did] with all his heart, and he prospered." (2 Chron 31:21 Jerusalem Bible)

Copyright © 2010 Kathryn M. Cunningham, All Rights Reserved

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For more of Kathryn's opinion on the heart of the matter check out www.atravelersview.org

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