No this is not a title of a forgotten Harry Potter novel. This is an epidemic that is plaguing our generation: The Hardened Heart.
What exactly is a hardened heart? This upcoming Sunday’s readings talk about it a little bit. A hard heart can mean many things, but I would say the thing that jumps out to me is a lack of humility.. So for example, if someone who loves you says,“Hey Sally, that shirt is a little low cut, I can see a lot of your tay-tahs. You may want to change because only bad things can come from that (ie attracting a jerk guy who only wants to use you/leading the good men trying to be holy into temptation to lust, etc).”
Now you could scoff and say, “Whatever Prude,” and walk away, missing out on an opportunity to listen to her and grow in self-discipline, humility and virtue. OR you could thank her, take her advice to heart and change your shirt. Why? To protect yourself from sin and the crappy things in life (like lust and objectifying and using people) SO THAT YOU can learn to love better, to be TRULY SATISFIED by virtue, goodness, grace and peace.
Before you think that my heart is super soft and plushy, let me tell you: I have a hardened heart. But I am aware of it, and when someone suggests a way I could grow or points out a flaw of mine, I CHOOSE to grit my teeth and listen with a smile BECAUSE THEY ARE TRULY TRYING TO LOVE ME. They want me to have the best in life! I see this a lot in my marriage to Matt. He and I call one another to grow every day BECAUSE I WANT HEAVEN for him! And I want him to be happy!! In fact, if he thought I was perfect and didn’t demand the best of me, I would be SO BORED! I need the challenge, ya’ll!
Actually recently, God has started softening my hardened heart. I have always been a pretty confident person. I am truly happy with a lot of myself. But I always tended to ignore the not so great stuff about myself and when others would point it out (Thanks, brave friends!), I’d scoff, roll my eyes then tell them why they were WRONG. Ya, real piece of work I am lol!
Well, God knows me. More than I know myself. And he knows how to soften my heart, gently, tenderly, lovingly. Over the last 6 months or so, with the help of reading 33 Days to Merciful Love and St. Therese, I realized that God can shine BRIGHTER when I struggle. When I am weak, He is strong! When I am not good at something, I MUST admit it then let God do it within me. He is the answer. His love inspires and empowers and motivates me to be the person He created me to be! You guys, I want to be a Saint but I CANT DO IT. Only God can make me a saint! I want to bring people to God because I know he has saved me, he can save you too. He can give you love, peace, and fulfillment you are looking for! But The Curse of the Hardened Heart actually PREVENTS us from receiving God’s love and peace. It’s a ROCK HARD WALL that stands in the way of his tenderness.
So this week, instead of telling others how they should be better, let’s take a look at our hearts. And let’s listen to others on how we can grow. It may suck, but it does wonders for softening hearts. I'll buy you ice cream if you try. Love ya ~Stacy
Word up. I am Stacy, the youth minister of this amazing group of teens. I have 4 kids of my own, 2 heaven babies and like 60 teens I consider very large children of my own.