"If today you hear [H]is voice, harden not your hearts" (Psalm 95).
Today’s Psalm is one of those tunes that I often have stuck in my head after Mass. I can vividly hear our parish cantor’s voice as the response cycles over and over in my mind. The melody I have embedded in memory, and its words and meaning I have been taking to prayer.
A hardened heart—the image is cold, stoic, and haunting. It’s a chilling concept, even more so when I contemplate what might make one’s heart harden. Rejection. Isolation. Hatred. Things that are not of God and things that can make us feel so distant from God and His love.
Yet in praying with this Psalm, my imagination visualized the cold, stone-like heart coming to life and radiating love after God speaks. It was not clear in my prayer what God said, but just a whisper of His voice and the heart was full and beating for Christ, pulsing with joy.
God’s word brings life. And it is with God’s grace that we move through paralyzing hardships. The softening of our hearts is not as seemingly easy as what came to me in prayer, but by entering into the Word of God, listening to God in Scripture and taking what we hear to prayer, that our hearts can be changed. Combine that with intentional community and relationships seeking to bring God’s light and love into our world, and by God’s grace we can soften the hardest of hearts, sisters.
We just need to listen, let our hearts be transformed, and use the love we’ve been given to help transform others—all for the glory of God.
Pope Leo XIIII dedicated the whole world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1899. Find out why in his encyclical, "Annum Sacrum."
Sarah Stanley is a small town Ohio girl who is mildly obsessed with all things Ignatian and is very passionate about faith, social justice, and the intersection of the two. She recently earned her Master of Divinity and now serves as the Director of Christian Service at a high school in New England. When she’s not working, she enjoys contagious laughter, travel, clever puns, and finding the good in all things. You can find out more about her here.