The human heart is said to beat 35 million times a year without pausing for repairs! Under normal circumstances the heart will continue working at this pace for 70, 80, or 90 odd years, never needing an “overhaul,” never needing to slow down or take a break, and all the while achieving the same peak level of performance. The obvious exceptions to this are disease, some type of damage to the heart itself, or physical death caused by extreme old age (when the heart has faithfully served its earthly purpose). Other than that, the heart doesn’t need to pause or rest to continue performing its task.
In a similar way, the Lord and His angels never pause, never “rest” in their effort to lead us toward heaven. The Lord’s attention to every single detail of our life “never stops” (AC 6211). His mercy is constant with every person in this world and is “never withdrawn from anyone” (HH 522). In the book of Exodus, we’re reminded of the fact that a pillar of cloud led the Israelites by day and a pillar of fire by night, and that this is a symbol of the Lord’s unceasing presence with us. In addition, the angels of heaven are said to be constantly “monitoring” our thoughts and intentions in the hope that they might bend these more and more in the direction and pulse of heaven (see AC 5854).
Our journey of life is an opportunity to switch from having an erratic, irregular “pulse” toward the things of religion to developing a more consistent, reliable pulse. Our struggles and challenges provide the occasion for us to acknowledge how little we know compared to how much there is to learn, how much we need to “let go and let God.” And this spiritual awakening, this growing sensitivity to spiritual realities, not only steadies our heart rate, our spiritual pulse, but we gain more spiritual stamina. We notice that, like the consistent, rhythmic beat of the heart, we don’t need to take as many “breaks” or “pauses” from practicing the life of religion, from doing genuinely kind and thoughtful things for others.
Like the constant, methodical beat of the heart, the Lord and His angels are working with us every second of the day to promote what is honest, kind, and true for “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint...” (Isaiah 40:31).