Today’s readings both focus on those who have hard hearts and don’t hear the Good News. Jesus says of those with hard hearts,
“If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if one should rise from the dead.” —Luke 16:31
My immediate thought when reading this was, “Man, I’m glad I don’t have a hard heart!!” But, then as time went along, I started thinking of times in my life when I have had a hard heart and was not open to hearing God’s words or of living His ways. Memories of fighting with my brother and sisters, of fighting with my mom and dad thinking they were just being old and stupid, of dating a guy that my friends and family didn’t like, of getting engaged to said guy, of turning away from friends trying to help me after I found out said guy was engaged to several others besides me, of listening to the doctors instead of God and using oral contraceptives in the early years of marriage (which caused more problems than I want to count), of not trusting God with the number of children we had but living in fear instead of trust, of not trusting that God’s plan for a husband and wife and obedience was the right way to live, and on and on and on. Looking back, these memories were like neon signs in my life saying “turn to God!”
As these memories assaulted me, I felt lower and lower and more convicted. I am SO thankful for the Sacrament of Reconciliation for otherwise, the burden of all of these times of hard heartedness would be too heavy to bear.
But, the more I thought about all of this, the more that I realized that when I was in the midst of those situations, I didn’t understand that my heart was closed and hard. Instead, I truly thought that I was acting faithfully. I understand differently now, of course, but hindsight is always 20/20. So, how would I know if there is something happening now in my life which is indicative of a hard heart? I didn’t know then, how could I know now? What are the questions I need to be asking of myself to make sure that I don’t fall into that category again? IF a friend came and told me that I seemed to have a hard heart and needed to open myself to God, would I? So many questions!! And few answers.
If anyone has ideas, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear some ideas from others!
I DO know that once I know that I have a hard heart, all I need to do is ask Jesus to heal me of that affliction and I will be healed. But, first, I need to know. So, how does one know?? That IS the question.