If you hear the voice of God today, do not harden your hearts1 , the liturgy repeats to us every day of this liturgical season. And every day, in very different ways, God speaks to the heart of each one of us.
"Our prayer during Lent is directed to awaken our conscience, to sensitize it to the voice of God. Do not harden your hearts, says the Psalmist. Indeed, the death of conscience, its indifference to good and evil, its deviations are a great threat to man. Indirectly, they are also a threat to society because, ultimately, the level of morality of society depends on the human conscience". The conscience is the light of the soul, of the deepest part of man's being, and if it is extinguished, man is left in the dark and can commit all possible outrages against himself and against others.
The torch of your body is your eyes, says the Lord. The torch of the soul is the conscience, and if it is well formed, it lights the way, the way that ends in God, and man can advance along it. Even if he stumbles and falls, he can get up and go forward. He who has allowed his inner sensitivity to "fall asleep" or "die" to the things of God, is left without signs and disoriented. Woe to those who call evil good and good evil," foretells the prophet Isaiah, "who turn light into darkness and darkness into light, who turn bitter into sweet and sweet into bitter!
Jesus compares the function of the conscience to that of the eye in our life. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is enlightened, but if your eye is diseased, your body is also in darkness. Look, then, lest the light that is in you be darkness. When the eye is healthy, things are seen as they are, without distortion. A sick eye does not see or deforms reality, it deceives the subject himself, and the person may come to think that events and people are as he sees them with his sick eyes.
When someone suffers an error in the affairs of daily life, having made a false estimate of the data, it causes damage and inconvenience, which can sometimes be of little importance. When in the error the eternal life is compromised, the transcendence has no limits.
The conscience can be deformed by not having put the means to reach the due knowledge about the faith, or by an ill will dominated by pride, sensuality, laziness.... When the Lord complains that the Jews do not receive his message, he affirms the voluntariness of their decision - they do not want to believe - and does not put the cause in an involuntary difficulty: this is rather the consequence of their free refusal: Why do you not understand my language? Because you cannot suffer my doctrine. The passions and the lack of sincerity with oneself can come to force the understanding, to think in another way more in accordance with a tone of life or with defects and bad habits that one does not want to abandon. There is then no good will, the heart hardens and the conscience becomes numb, because it no longer points in the true direction, the one that leads to God; it is like a broken compass that disorients one's own person, and often many others. "The man who has a hardened heart and a deformed conscience, even though he may have the fullness of strength and physical capacities, is a spiritual sick person, and anything must be done to restore him to health of soul.
Lent is a very opportune time to ask the Lord to help us to form our conscience very well, and to examine whether we are radically sincere with ourselves, with God, and with those people who in his name have the mission of advising us.