This week’s Care Conversation will continue on our discussion from last week. Some have criticised Augustine, and latterly people like Jamie Smith, for their emphasis on the importance of the heart. We need to clearly see that they are not discounting knowledge and wisdom, but simply stating the great power and influence of desire.

“To recognize the limits of knowledge is not to embrace ignorance. We don’t need less than knowledge; we need more. We need to recognize the power of habit” [1]

We are strongly influenced by our habits which influence our hearts. Our hearts are major determinants as to how we understand an interpret things and then how we act.

Often our habits are those of assumption and default. Many of our desires are learned in response to the norms of the culture around us, or the traditions of the communities we belong to. Just as habits can be formed by these things, habits can be recalibrated through new practices and imitation of the right virtues. We can develop new habits.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. [2]

Paul tells us that the virtue of love is foundational. His introductory “therefore” means, that first of all we are to take note of all that has been said about the person of Christ before this instruction to the community.

Our hearts, which guide our desires and lives, are to be hearts captured by Christ, and not hearts that indulge prevailing self-interest.

It seems reasonable to conclude that our desires are a major driver of the way that we live life and that habits can influence our desires. It becomes vitally important that we, as educators, analyse our desires and habits so that they may better reflect the person of Christ. We are going to have a major influence on the environment for our young people and the habits that shape their desires.

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. [3]

We remain thankful for the grace that shapes our desires in Christ.

[1] “You Are What You Love” by James K.A. Smith

[2] Colossians 3:12-14

[3] 1 Corinthians 11:1