Core: noun, the most important part of a thing, the essence; from the Latin cor, meaning heart.

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 Volume 1.7 This View’s Prose March 25, 2002 

    Harden Not Your Hearts    

Hear His voice today: “Harden not your hearts” (Ps 95:8).

This prayer is relevant and necessary, but it is particularly recommended in the course of these forty days that we hear the voice of the living God. It is a penetrating voice, when we consider how God speaks in Lent not only with the exceptional richness of His Word in the liturgy and in the Church’s life but above all with the paschal eloquence of the Passion and Death of His own Son. He speaks with His cross and with His sacrifice. In a certain sense, this is the last discourse in His dialogue with man, lasting centuries, a dialogue with his mind and with his heart, with his conscience and his conduct. The heart means man in his inner spirituality, the very center, so to say, of his likeness with God. The interior man. The man of conscience.

Our prayer during Lent aims at awakening of consciences, arousing them to the voice of God. In fact, the diseases of consciences, their indifference to good and evil, their errors, are a great danger to man. They are indirectly a menace to society as well, because the level of society’s morals depends in the ultimate analysis on the human conscience.

A man who has a hardened heart and a degenerate conscience is spiritually a sick man, even though he may enjoy the fullness of his powers and physical capacities. Everything must be done to bring him back to having a healthy soul. “Hear today his voice... harden not your heart.”


Pope John Paul II

    from Insegnamenti di Giovannia Paolo II, March 15, 1981
Prayers and Devotions, ed. Peter C. J. van Lierde, p. 131

    The Affections of Men’s Minds    

Now are the affections of men’s minds imprinted by divers means. One way, by the mean of the bodily senses moved by such things, pleasant or displeasant, as are outwardly through sensible worldly things offered and objected unto them. And this manner of receiving the impression of affections is common unto men and beasts. Another manner of receiving affections is by the mean of reason, which both ordinately tempereth those affections, that the bodily five wits imprint, and also disposeth a man many times to some spiritual virtues, very contrary to those affections that are fleshly and sensual. And those reasonable dispositions be affections spiritual and proper to the nature of man, and above the nature of beasts. Now as our spiritual enemy the devil enforceth himself to make us lean unto the sensual affections and beastly, so doth Almighty God of his goodness by his Holy Spirit inspire us good motions, with aid and help of his grace, toward the other affections spiritual, and by sundry means instructeth our reason to lean unto them, and not only to receive them as engendred and planted in our soul, but also in such wise water them with the wise advertisement of godly counsel and continual prayer, that they may be habitually radicate and surely take deep root therein. And after as the one kind of affection or the other beareth the strength in our heart, so be we stronger or feebler against the terror of death in this cause.


St. Thomas More (1478-1535)

    from Dialogue of Comfort in English Works p. 1249
A Book for All Seasons, ed. E. E. Reynolds, pp. 47f

    The Defense of Liberty    
    What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling seacoasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of them may be turned against our liberties, without making us stronger or weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage, and you are preparing your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of those around you, you have lost the genius of your own independence, and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
    from Speech at Edwardsville, Illinois, September 11, 1858
Collected Works
Volume III p. 95

The View from the Core, and all original material, © E. L. Core 2002. All rights reserved.

Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman — “Heart speaks to heart”