Barry Posner, an old friend and co-author of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge, tells the story of having dinner with his wife and his father at a nice San Francisco restaurant. At the end of the meal, his father was excusing himself from the table when he fell to the floor with a fatal heart attack.

The waiters quickly called paramedics and ushered the family into a private room. When the paramedics arrived and started to attend to Barry’s father, Barry started offering information about his father—he is a diabetic, he is a smoker, he took certain kinds of medications, and so on.

One of the paramedics said, “Dr. Posner, your father has just had a heart attack. We are trying to get his heart right; nothing else matters unless we get the heart right.”

Barry’s lesson to those of us in the room where he was speaking sometime later was this: “This is the way it is with leadership too—nothing else matters unless we get the heart right for good leadership.”

Lent is a good time to get the heart right. We have plenty of places in our lives and world where the heart is not right—war in Ukraine, shootings on the streets, car jackings, squabbles of all kinds. We cannot fix all the world’s ills. We can, however, work on our own lives and get our heart right with ourselves, our God, and others.

Take a moment to reflect on getting your heart right these days. If it helps, play the Neil Diamond song, “Heartlight,” while you meditate.

Turn on your heartlight
Let it shine wherever you go
Let it make a happy glow
For all the world to see
Turn on your heartlight
In the middle of a young boy’s dream
Don’t wake me up too soon
Gonna take a ride across the moon
You and me
And home’s the most excellent place of all
And I’ll be right here if you should call me

Fr. J. Patrick Murphy, C.M., Ph.D., is Emeritus Professor of Public Service at DePaul University and Values Director for Depaul International, an organization that serves homeless people in seven countries.