Thursday 29 July 2021

Free Hearts - Alexandre Havard - Understanding Your Deepest Motivations

Free Hearts: 
Understanding Your Deepest Motivations
Anthony T. Salvia (Translator)
ISBN 9781594173950
eISBN 9781594173967

I have read a few books now from the pen of Alexandre Havard and I believe th is the second translated by Anthony T. Salvia. His books move me and they challenge me. They are well worth the time and effort to read. The description of this volume is:

“Beauty, greatness, love, freedom, mercy, and suffering expand the heart, purify it, and make it burn with love and desire.

In the words of Alexandre Havard, “A free heart says ‘yes’ to transcendent values, to the divine inspirations and impulses in the depths of our being.”

For our hearts to be free, we must transform our interior selves. Alexandre Havard shows us the way.

His important new book will help you achieve the optimal balance between the heart, the mind, and the will, heal your heart when it is troubled and has been wounded, and enable your most noble aspirations to grow in strength and maturity.”

And the chapters are:

From the Author
1 The Heart: Source and Center
2 The Spirituality of the Heart 
3 The Rationalist
4 The Religious Voluntarist
5 The Macho Voluntarist
6 The Ideological Voluntarist
7 The Conventional Voluntarist
8 The Voluptuous Sentimentalist
9 The Insane Sentimentalist 
10 The Cowardly Sentimentalist
11 Desiccated Hearts
12 Wounded Hearts
13 Beauty
14 Greatness
15 Love
16 Freedom
17 Mercy
18 Suffering

I have been on a streak lately with some excellent reads. And this is one of the best of those. This is not a long volume but it is packed full of wisdom. Some of the passages that I highlight during my first read through are:

“The human being possesses three centers of freedom and responsibility: reason, the will and the heart. Reason and the will are exclusively spiritual faculties. The heart is spiritual and physical at the same time.”

“A person without a heart does not exist, nor one whose heart is empty, because it cannot be empty. It is always full. It holds the good (vision, drive) and the evil (blindness, impotence), and if the good decreases, the bad increases.”

“Before the West discovered Aristotle, it was St. Augustine—author of the Confessions—who provided intellectual guidance. For him, the heart is a faculty both physical and spiritual, even if he refuses to grant it a value on par with reason and the will.”

“Be that as it may, the West has emphasized the mind and the will in the life of man, whereas the East has paid greater attention to the heart. The West often accuses the East of sentimentalism, and the East often reproaches the West for its rationalism and voluntarism. Both approaches are false if they do not take into account this elementary fact: the heart, the mind, and the will can only function together.”

“One can only practice the good with a pure heart, an enlightened intelligence, and a strong will.”

“Our virtues ennoble our emotions, our vices corrupt them.”

“As Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote: “A person can develop all the spiritual richness to which he is called only if he is penetrated, imbibed by the values which he perceives and only if his heart is stirred and inflamed by these values and responds to them with the fire of joy, enthusiasm and love.””

“Freedom is the quality of a heart accustomed to saying “yes” to transcendent values. The “yes” demands the humility which predisposes us to be attentive to the calls of beauty, truth, and the good. The proud person resists being moved by transcendent values because nothing in this world exceeds himself. He thinks he should do the moving. Pride is the greatest obstacle to the education of the heart.”

“Strengthen your will. Do not renounce the good on the pretext that it could be a source of conflict. Learn to manage conflicts with sincerity and firmness.”

“The experience of beauty, greatness, love, freedom, mercy, and suffering expands and exalts our heart. It purifies it and makes it burn.”

“A humble heart is always listening. It is open and receptive. It is full of gratitude. It is happy.”

As can be seen from those sampling of quotes this book is pack full of wisdom. It is easily accessible. It is great for the scholar, hobbyist, or a general audience. Anyone wanting to grow in the virtues, grow spiritually, and really grow in understanding themselves and others this is the book for you. 

Another excellent read from the masterful pen of Alexandre Havard.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Alexandre Havard:
Virtuous Leadership: An Agenda for Personal Excellence
Created for Greatness: The Power of Magnanimity

No comments: