Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hardness Of Heart

The following article is found on this weblink below.  In honor of Pentecost: 

Be Open To The Holy Spirit


Be meek, open to joy, newness offered by the Holy Spirit, pope says
By Carol GlatzCatholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christians who are too serious and gloomy have the Holy Spirit missing from their lives, Pope Francis said.

Be meek and open to the Spirit and don't fight the joy and unexpected newness he brings, the pope said May 13 during his early morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

People who think they can and do know everything won't be able to understand God, he said in his homily, according to a report by Vatican Radio.

Jesus always had trouble with the kind of religious intellectuals who "believed that religion was only about texts and laws," the pope said. For them, all that was necessary was "to fulfill the commandments and nothing more. They didn't imagine the Holy Spirit existed."

As a result, all they did was demand explanations from Jesus, he said. "They wanted to debate. Everything was in the head, everything was about the intellect," and there was no "heart, no love, no beauty, no harmony."

"When there is lots of seriousness, there is no Spirit of God," he said.

It never mattered what Jesus said and did, he said. Even raising Lazarus from the dead "right in front of them" could not convince them because they refused to "open their heart to the Holy Spirit."

Belief for them was based on "ideas, their own ideas. They are full of pride. They think they know it all," he said.

But, Jesus had "something very strong" to say to these people, Pope Francis said. According to the day's reading from the Gospel of John (10:22-30), Jesus told them, "You do not believe because you are not among my sheep."

Jesus told them they had turned their backs on and separated themselves from the people of God, the pope said. They "built up a whole system of commandments that banished people" and drove them out of the church.

These "aristocrats of the intellect" weren't stubborn; it was worse and "more dangerous," the pope said. They had hearts that were closed and hardened against the Holy Spirit, which is "the sin of resisting" him.

God wants people to have hearts that are meek and open to the Spirit, like many of the early pagan converts who received the Gospel, as told in the day's first reading, Acts 11:19-26.

Those preaching the Gospel far from Jerusalem let the Spirit do its work, bringing the word and opening "the doors to the Greeks, the pagans" -- communities considered "impure" and unworthy of God.

But the Holy Spirit acts on those who are "mild, kind, humble and open to the Spirit," he said. Even though people may not be able to see it with their own eyes, "the Holy Spirit is acting in the church today, acting in our lives."

Pope Francis asked people to pray for the grace of being open to the Holy Spirit so that they can move forward, "being creative, being joyous."

Let the "grace of meekness and the Holy Spirit help us defend ourselves from that other, evil spirit of being self-sufficient, proud, arrogant" and having a heart hardened against God.


  1. Dear Diana, this is a wonderful article about Pope Francis! He shows the true spirit of charity, the real presence of the Holy Spirit among us that is so characteristic of the Way. Our adversaries do not know and do not care about the spirit of charity. They rather fall back to the "sin of resisting", as the Pope says, to hardness of heart and aridity of faith that separates them from Christ. They are worse than stubborn and "more dangerous," the Pope claims.

    I keep pondering on what the Pope said. What is the danger? Becoming closed and hardened against the Holy Spirit. This could only mean opening up to the opposing end, to evil influences. We should take their action with a spirit of charity, as the Pope calls on, and this is what the Way shows them. Still, we have to tell how they hurt the body of Christ by persecution. We should help them in a loving way to ease up the hardness of their hearts, overcome their aridity of faith, accept the Holy Spirit and come back to loving communion with the whole body of Christ.

    Now, some boast of persecuting us and demand us to praise them for "doing what is necessary": suffering for our faith. They feel like our self-righteous persecutors. Even the Lord had to suffer persecution and crucifixion by pagan and faithless people! But this would not make the persecutors righteous! The pagan told Jesus: if you are the Son of God, "save yourself and come down from the cross." But they only condemned themselves. Facing their attitude with a spirit of charity, we offer them a way to save themselves from negativity: we invite them to a loving and caring community where we experience the presence of the Lord every day.

    He said: "7 Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh." (Matt 18:7, Douay-Rheims Cath. transl.) It is a stern warning of true charity: come and change your ways so that the love of the Spirit flows freely into your heart!

    1. Dear Zoltan,

      It is amazing isn't the Pope puts it all in persepective? Some of the comments I like which the Pope makes are the following:

      1. As a result, all they did was demand explanations from Jesus,

      2. It never mattered what Jesus said and did, he said. Even raising Lazarus from the dead "right in front of them" could not convince them because they refused to "open their heart to the Holy Spirit."

      How true these words are from the Pope. Jesus showed them a lot of fruits in front of their eyes, and they still demand that he explain. The fruits was not enough to convince the Pharisees.

    2. They said, "okay Jesus, if you are the Son of God, then show us your birth certificate! You provide the paperwork and all this will go away" (smile). Little did they know that the whole being of the Lord, His teaching and His deeds, the multitude of healing and miracles: this was the proof of His divinity! Better than anything else. But without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of charity you just cannot see the Truth...


    3. Dear Zoltan,

      I think that even if the birth certificate is provided, they would still question it because it is not enough for them. It is never enough for them. They would want to know who was responsible for the birth certificate. Someone has to be held accountable for the mistake in writing this document.