Sister Ann Marie Wainright – Words of Wisdom for the Hard-Headed

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Sister Ann Marie Wainright – Words of Wisdom for the Hard-Headed

Oh, that today you would hear God’s voice: do not harden your hearts…. (Ps. 95:7-8 NAB)

hardened heartIn ancient Hebrew, the root word of what we now translate as “heart” may actually mean “center.” The heart was regarded as the center of the total human person – their personality, will, and intellect. The Hebrew word for “heart” often referred to a person’s understanding and decision making, not their feelings. This understanding presents us with a unique read on Psalm 95:7-8: “Oh, that today you would hear God’s voice: do not be hardheaded…”

We can be pretty hardheaded when it comes to hearing and accepting what God has to say. There is one message God keeps repeating over and over again in Scripture, as if trying to get through our hardheadedness: do not be afraid.

Anxiety and fear is important to consider at this point in the Easter season. What permeated the Triduum still fills our post-resurrection hearts. The disciples were so afraid during the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane that they fled (Mark 14:50). Waiting in the High Priest’s courtyard for news, Peter was so afraid of being associated with Jesus, and what that might mean to his own freedom, that he denied ever having known the person he had previously called the Messiah (John 18:15-17; Luke 9:20). When Jesus was raised from the dead and appeared to disciples, they feared they were seeing a ghost (Luke 24:36-39). After all, he wouldn’t come back to a bunch of guys who abandoned him and denied him, right?

Perhaps what the disciples feared most is our biggest fear as well: that God might get tired of us, and stop loving us. We can “hear God’s voice” breaking through our hard-headedness and fear in St. Paul’s letter to the Romans:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:38-39)

So there it is – words of wisdom for the hardheaded and hard-hearted:

“Do not be afraid. Trust in my love for you – can’t you see it?  It’s written all over the nail marks in my hands and feet.”




Sister Ann Marie Wainright  

Sister Ann Marie Wainright

Sister Ann Marie Wainright is a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she worked as a CPA for many years before earning dual masters degrees in counseling and pastoral studies. Sister Ann Marie is interested how people encounter God in their daily lives and how they use their faith and spirituality in meeting difficult challenges.

View all of Sister Ann Marie’s blogs.




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“Listen carefully, my child, to your master's precepts, and incline the ear of your heart. Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father's advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.”
–St. Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of Saint Benedict