Harden Not Your Heart
I wanted to write this from last summer but I thought everyone knew it anyways. Then I remember that all the things I now KNOW, I once never knew. But now the small things are being written on my heart- the small simple things.
So I share this small simple thing.
Harden not your heart.
I was at Mass at a different parish this given Sunday. I had heard this priest before, and inwardly I disliked that he only ever read from his notes. Inwardly I thought, only those who speak without a script are worth listening to. Inwardly, I allowed my mind to wander, because inwardly, I thought what he was saying, wasn’t worth hearing.
On this given Sunday however, I had a thought. I figured that if there were saints among us, they’d probably be the most humble. That they would be themselves, exactly what they were meant to be at that given time. Mathematically, that meant that this little priest, with his humble notes and tone, could very well be a saint! I decided to pay attention.
And yet, at this given Mass on this given Sunday, I sat with a slightly heavier heart. For various reasons. Wrapped up in all of this, I began Mass as if I was numb. I didn’t hear the music, I didn’t hear the first reading, and continued like this till the Homily (this is not a nice feeling).
Interestingly enough, this little priest, with his humble notes and tone, decided to preach solely on the Responsorial Psalm- If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your heart. And I thank God I tuned in. What he said went something like this:
“A hard heart is not easily broken, is not easily saddened, is neither easily disappointed nor let down. A hard heart can’t hurt. Whereas a soft heart is quite easily broken, is quite easily saddened, is quite easily disappointed or let down. Soft hearts hurt, and hurt often. “
And I understood. Prior to Mass, I had come to the same conclusion. Wouldn’t it be easier to have a hard heart? One that can’t feel or hurt or break?
But the little priest with his humble notes and tone, continued,
“But a soft heart can love. It is easily surprised, it is easily joyous, it is easily forgiving. It is easily open to goodness, truth and beauty. It can be touched, moved and warmed. It can be saddened but it can also be deliriously happy. It can respond. It can burst into life like a garden in springtime. And for that, it is worth it.”
(1) Every Mass is a healing Mass. Every single Mass. Here my healing began
(2) I realized that hardening my heart was inwardly, what I was trying to do. I refuse(d). I will keep loving, opening my heart, and also look to the Healer when hurt comes. But open-hearted I will remain.
And that’s what I want to share. When hope seems feeble, harden not your heart. When love is not love, harden not your heart. When forgiveness seems impossible, harden not your heart. When you lose reason to believe, harden not your heart. When you reach the end of the end, harden not your heart.
How to ‘soften’ your heart? I’m still working on this. But I have a feeling that it may have to do with this priest’s final remarks.
He ended with- “To harden our hearts against one another is bad enough. But to harden our hearts against God would be the ultimate calamity. It would mean that God Himself could not get through to us. But when we heed the voice of God everything changes. Softened by the rain of God’s grace, and warmed by the sun of His love, the human heart can be turned from a desert into a garden.”