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Hardness of Heart
In Scripture, especially in Mark’s Gospel, we often hear the expression ‘hardness of heart,’ which isn’t a good thing.
“Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart…” Mark 3:5
“Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment.” Mark 10:5
“He appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart.”
Christ uses this expression to reprimand not only the Scribes and Pharisees, but also His own apostles after the Resurrection. So, what exactly does it mean to have a ‘hardened heart?’
In short, it means that our hearts are closed off. And when our hearts are closed off, our hearts die, because we are shut off from the source of life...God. Using an expression to explain an expression — how ironic — it’s like trying to get blood from a stone.
This is a result of our own pride and hubris, thinking we don’t need God, or that we know what’s best, or simply not having faith in the promises of Christ.
The solution is to crack open our hardened hearts and let God in. During the Penitential Rite at Mass, in devotion to the Eucharist and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we strike our chest to ‘break open our hardened hearts.’
Just because the Apostles suffered from hardness of heart doesn’t mean we have to. We should examine our own lives. Do we have hardened hearts? Where do we need to let God in?