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Softening Our Hearts

 Mary Flick, CSJ

If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.

Ps 95:8
Third Sunday of Lent graphic with a cloth hanging over a cross and a palm branch

We meet this verse of Psalm 95 at least five times in our Lenten liturgies. Lent has a way of bringing us face to face with the “Great If.” There is a choice we make every Lent. A choice to hear the voice of God – or not. To trust, or to grumble, as God’s Chosen People did, athirst in the desert of their lives. The choice is to hear God’s voice, God speaking to us, or to allow our hearts to be hardened.

We live in a hard, cold world today – one brought to us through our hard, cold laptop and iPhone and television screens. They can easily screen us from our dear neighbors and help us to live in a safe, isolated refuge. A refuge of my opinions and my rights, my smugness of security, surrounded by all that is owed to me.

Our screens reveal to us so much death. Tens of thousands killed in Palestine. Innocents – innocence – snuffed out in the streets of Ukraine, St. Louis, Los Angeles, St. Paul, even Albany. Too many. Too much. What can I do, besides turn off my screens? Maybe that’s a good start.

Psalm 95 invites us to consider the choice. Do we listen to God’s voice? If so, we will realize the cost: “softening” our hearts. Perhaps we connect in real time with real people. Certainly, we connect in the real, present time with our God. In quiet, alone time, and in time well lived. In meetings, at meals, on Zoom.

Can I make as my Lenten practice my resolve to “soften” my heart and to be present to the voices and faces that are present to me beyond the screens? We know, as chosen people do, that God is faithful, present, loving, seeking to quench our thirst for truth, for justice, for right relationships.

This Lent, dare to choose. “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.”

Category: Reflections

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The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are a congregation of Catholic sisters. We, and those who share our charism and mission, are motivated in all things by our profound love of God and our dear neighbors. We seek to build communities and bridge divides between people. Since our first sisters gathered in 1650, our members have been called to “do all things of which women are capable.” The first sisters of our congregation arrived in St. Louis, Missouri in 1836, and we now have additional locations in St. Paul, Albany, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Japan and Peru. Today, we commit to respond boldly to injustice and dare to be prophetic.


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