Changing hearts

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Written by ANN BARRICK   
Friday, 01 June 2012 04:00
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I recently read in the book “Consoling the Heart of Jesus” that “we live under the influence of a culture that’s extremely successful at hardening people’s hearts. That’s why Blessed John Paul II called this a ‘culture of death.’ ” This surprised me because, like many, I thought the term “culture of death” was coined because of all the abortions. The author went on to explain: “Hearts had to die before the babies did.”

He’s right! It correlates with what Msgr. Phillip Reilly, founder of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, says: “Women spiritually abort their babies before they physically abort them.” Abortion is just a symptom of a deeper problem — the hardening of hearts. This is why prayer at abortion centers is so important and why we stress that we need to pray not only for a change of mind but also for a conversion of heart. This includes our own hearts. They, too, need to be softened because every day the culture of death in which we live is seeking to kill them as well.

Ann BarrickHowever, we shouldn’t despair and give up hope. We can be counter-cultural and build up what JP II called a “culture of life” and a “civilization of love.” How do we do this? First, we need only to look at Jesus and how He demonstrated His love by suffering for us. As we meditate on His Passion, we can learn what true love and compassion is. Hopefully our own hearts will then be moved to act with love. Especially when we reach out to console those who suffer, our own hearts will begin to soften. When we love others with and through Christ, we will be renewing the culture of life!

Jesus said to St. Margaret Mary, “Behold this Heart which loves so much yet is so little loved.” In this month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I propose that we strive to console His heart by showing love and compassion to those who are hardest for us to love.

Sometimes all we can do is offer a smile, but that smile might just be the seed of love that softens the most hardened of hearts, including our own! This may sound simplistic and even silly. but try it and see what happens! Smile at the person who is the biggest grump in your office or the family member who causes you the most grief. Start with one smile a day and then add another and so on. Say a little prayer for that person.

Over time, even if that person hasn’t changed, you may find that you have changed and that your heart has softened. Little by little, we can make a big difference! As our own hearts become more like Jesus’ we’ll begin to share His love in subtle but powerful ways, changing the culture one person at a time.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours!

Ann Barrick is the founder of ProLifeConnection and the campaign director for Toledo’s 40 Days for Life. For more information, visit or contact

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