“I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you.” —Ezekiel 36:25-27a.
I am up early watching light come to day as a gentle rain sounds outside my window and on our roof. I can imagine this rain cleansing our planet as well as my heart. Maybe later I will have the courage to go outside and stand or sit and feel the rain on my face, hair, and clothes and pray for a heart of flesh instead of stone, for just this day.
One of the first priests I worked with when I was a deacon in training shared with me that he chanted these few verses from Ezekiel in his shower each morning. I think of and pray for him each time I recite these words, which are now one of the alternative Canticles in Morning Prayer in Enriching our Worship I (Church Publishing, 1998).
As I talk with spiritual friends who confide concerns about the heart of stone they carry, I also let them know that I suffer from the same dis-ease. My experience is that our responsibility is to recover an awareness of when we cannot feel the Spirit within us and our hearts turn to stone. Awareness is a major gift that God calls us to develop and discern. Only God can change our heart. We keep that prayer to be open to change in our hearts every day. We try to put ourselves in relationship to others who also desire a heart of flesh and not of stone, and we pray for each other.