In Scripture, especially in Mark’s Gospel, we often hear the expression ‘hardness of heart.’ And, it’s not 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.” Mark 16:14
Christ uses this description 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’?
The answer to this question deserves more than what I can expound in this email, but in short, it means that our hearts are closed off. Our hearts are dead, because we are shut off from the source of life, God. To use another expression, 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 to let God in. During the Penitential Rite at Mass or in devotion to the Eucharist or the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we strike our chest to ‘break open our hardened hearts.’
Even the Apostles suffered from hardness of heart. We should examine our own lives. Do we have hardened hearts? Where do we need to let God in?