Well this post is going to be an adventure for sure! I can’t begin to describe how much I have learned this week, and I’m going to try to summarize it here. It’s hard to share specific experiences on here. Anyone who knows me will know that I’ve got the situational memory of a goldfish. Give me a movie line or a scripture and I’ll never be able to forget it, but ask me what the name of the guy I just talked to was, or what happened yesterday, and I’m toast… Thank goodness for planners out here!
Interjection: CHECK OUT THIS SPIDER!
Look at the size of that thing! I was pretty sure it had its fangs sunk into something when we took the picture too. Pretty gnarly.
I have learned a lot of really powerful lessons though, and I’d like to start by listing some topics and then building from there, for my sake.
1. A Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit
mmm… that’s all I’ve got for now. Haha…
In 3 Nephi 9:20, we learn:
“And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost…”
We hear this phrase often as Latter-day Saints. But honestly, until this week, I didn’t understand it. I studied contrite spirit a little earlier on my mission, but “broken heart” seemed pretty straightforward to me.
This past Tuesday the Ashland Zone had Specialized Training with President and Sister Pitt and President’s Assistants. During one of his teaching portions, President Pitt talked about our Savior’s suffering and death on the cross. He read some scriptural witnesses and shared some of the science behind it, which I still don’t fully comprehend, but the point of his teaching struck one of the Sisters. I remember clearly the moment when, with a shaking voice she said, “He died of a broken heart”. I fear that I am treading on sacred ground by sharing this experience as I am. The Spirit was tangible in that room as we spoke of the love of our Savior for us, and I pray that you will feel that love as you read this brief account.
But what I learned in that moment when she said that was the true meaning of a “broken heart”. In that moment I recalled every instance of “I came not to do mine own will, but the will of my Father, who sent me” in the scriptures. “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done”. I realized that the word “broken” as used in the scriptures was not referring to damaged or hurt emotions, as I had always assumed. Rather, the word “broken” used in the scriptures is the same as that used in reference to a broken horse, a broken shoe, or a broken glove. When a wild horse becomes broken, it becomes submissive to its master. When a glove or shoe becomes broken, it becomes malleable, it stops resisting the will of the master.
The Savior commands that we allow our hearts to be broken. I want to quote again what I shared last time from C.S. Lewis:
“Christ says, ‘Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work. I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked – the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you myself; my own will shall become yours'” (Mere Christianity, p.167).
The Savior commands us to give up our will for His, as He gave up His will for the Father’s. His death, releasing His spirit and giving up His life, was the ultimate act of submission to the Father’s will during His earthly ministry. He truly did die of a broken heart. But it didn’t end there. In 3 Nephi, we learn that He continued after His death to do as the Father commanded.
And now, the Savior commands us to give up our desires, our sins, our selves, for His self, just as He relinquished His for the Father’s. This is the doctrine of becoming “one”.
19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
I love my Savior more than I have ever known.