The Rocky Heart


FOR several years, I have asked Jesus why it is that I am so weak, so impatient in trial, so seemingly devoid of virtue. “Lord,” I have said a hundred times, “I pray every day, I go to Confession every week, I say the Rosary, I pray the Office, I’ve gone to daily Mass for years… why, then, am I so unholy? Why do I buckle under the smallest trials? Why am I so quick-tempered?” I could very well repeat the words of St. Gregory the Great as I try to respond to the Holy Father’s call to be a “watchman” for our times.

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Note that a man whom the Lords sends forth as a preacher is called a watchman. A watchman always stands on a height so that he can see from afar what is coming. Anyone appointed to be a watchman for the people must stand on a height for all his life to help them by his foresight.

How hard it is for me to say this, for by these very words I denounce myself. I cannot preach with any competence, and yet insofar as I do succeed, still I myself do not live my life according to my own preaching.

I do not deny my responsibility; I recognize that I am slothful and negligent, but perhaps the acknowledgment of my fault will win me pardon from my just judge. —St. Gregory the Great, homily, Liturgy of the Hours, Vol. IV, p. 1365-66

As I prayed before the Blessed Sacrament, begging the Lord to help me understand why I am so sinful after so many efforts, I looked up at the Crucifix and heard the Lord finally answer this painful and pervasive question…


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