“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” – Ps. 95:8

A few weeks ago on a Sunday morning, I suddenly wanted to wear a heart necklace. I had forgotten until that morning that I had that necklace, and as I pulled it out, it was tangled with another necklace that I had placed it with. The heart was still free and intact, but the chain itself was tangled with a snowflake, wrapped up between the arms and the body. As I started to untangle the necklace, I started to struggle and grow impatient. The more I untangled, the more it did not seem to be getting any better. Half an hour later, I was almost ready to give up, but I knew that I would abandon the whole thing if I had just stopped. The more I started to untangle, the more it seemed as if the chain was wrapped even tighter to the arms and body of the snowflake. Eventually, the chain broke when I was almost halfway done with untangling the chains. The heart was slowly becoming free since the chain was already broken so I decided to break the chain even further, releasing the heart and giving me just enough time to get to Mass.

I had a rough couple of weeks before that day and after struggling with the necklace, I began to wonder if it was a bad omen or possibly God speaking to me. The heart represents my true self and the person that I desire and strive to be: a faithful beloved daughter and follower of God. The chain represents things that hold me back from being able to live freely and be the person I desire to be. They could be sin, self-doubt, judgment, selfishness, envy, and countless other things that can lead me to harden my heart to God’s love, mercy and grace. I began to ask myself and took additional time to reflect on the question: are there any chains that are tangling my heart and not allowing myself to be free?

Since the Lenten season has begun, I’ve been reminded of the previous Sunday Masses that Lent is a time of fasting, almsgiving and prayer. It is a time to prepare for the resurrection of Christ, our savior. It is a time for me to quiet myself with reflection and prayer, to fast from and let go of whatever may be preventing me from deepening my relationship with God as well as focusing on what is most important to me and my faith. It is an opportunity to break those chains that cause us to harden our hearts, let God into our hearts, and cultivate a deeper relationship with Him.

Amy Lee