Thursday First Week Ordinary Time: Harden Not Your Hearts

Mass readings for today are here

From today's Psalm 95 

"If today you  hear his voice, harden not your hearts."

The key to empathy and compassion is to keep  asking the question :

What is it like to be you ?

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart.” Yes, we can harden our hearts. 
Many today feel that they have been shafted and/or abused in many areas of their lives; they feel ripped off, used and so short changed  that they refuse to trust anymore in politicians, law makers, police, doctors, economists, priests,  bishops or any other traditional source of trust.

When people get upset they get angry and this so often leads to a desire for retribution, not justice but a lust to destroy .

Here Ron Rolheiser explains how one of our biggest moral struggles challenge is to "keep a mellow warm and trusting heart when, as Pascal says, the heart has its reasons to want to chill and become aloof in order to protect itself. 
But the capacity to resist that impulse, to not turn cold, to not turn off, is, I believe, the real mark of maturity and even of faith."

'In John Updike's 'Rabbit, Run,' the epigraph is from Pascal - "the motions of Grace; the hardness of heart; external circumstances."
Updike said , "I guess a lot of my books are about hardness of heart. 'Rabbit, Run' was distressing to readers - it still is - because of Rabbit's hardness of heart.
But I meant to say, 'We're all hard of heart like this; don't get mad at him.' We all can take only so much pity and sympathy into our lives before our own survival. So this thing about how brutish even civilized life is is one of the things I say in my novels.''
When Pascal jotted down his cryptic notes or "pensees", he hit on three things that can encompass our lives.

External circumstances are relentless drivers: family, job, money, global strife.

But the motions of Grace are God's gifts and are not in our control.

Philip Yancey says that it is only the third, "hardness of heart ", which is the one that falls somewhat under our control.

"All I can do he says, is pray daily for God to batter my heart, in John Donnes'phrase or better yet, to melt it with His love."

Transformation comes in the end not from an act of will, but an act of Grace .
We can only ask for it and keep asking."

Yancey admits that we can never be free of the tyranny of distractions but we can want to abandon ourselves and be elevated above the pettiness of our hearts. "It is this sense of the need for transformation that keep us going only because that sense is the one sure basis for potential change."

Theodore Roosevelt said "I think there is only one quality worse than hardness of heart, and that is softness of head." 
I think too that there are many who hold that having a soft heart means we must also of necessity be soft in the head, and that is a sad falseness that pervades our modern way of life and our dealings with each other so much. Having a mellow heart should not mean we can't make hard decisions or that we are woolly in our thinking.  It just means we have to change our ideas about what is normal.

"The realization of our soul has its moral and its spiritual side. The moral side represents training of unselfishness, control of desire; the spiritual side represents sympathy and love. 
They should be taken together and never separated. The cultivation of the merely moral side of our nature leads us to the dark region of narrowness and hardness of heart, to the intolerant arrogance of goodness;
and the cultivation of the merely spiritual side of our nature leads us to a still darker region of revelry in intemperance of imagination.
Rabindranath Tagore

So, “If today you hear his voice harden not your heart,” let go and let God “whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” You may be surprised at what you hear.

God will work in us if we "let go" and let Him in..

Keep your heartsong alive and follow those penguins !!

A good heart these days is hard to find.....

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