“You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn—
and I would heal them.”
-Matthew 13: 14-15
When was the last time you gave life a good listening to?
Remember pressing a seashell to you ear,
to catch an ancient echo
of booming surf?
Recall when someone dear
leaned in close
to hear the heart behind your words…?
…and that time you were drawn
by a tone, a voice, a word
and held spellbound till all boundaries fell away?
Picture that special person,
far away or long gone,
you’d love to listen to once again?
Listen with the ear of the heart.
-Rule of St. Benedict
Every minute so much is going on,
in us, around us,
through us, beyond us.
And moment by moment
we choose whether, and how deeply,
we are willing to connect with life.
The most potent, most intimate form
of connecting and communicating
is neither talking nor touching, but listening.
Let us not confuse listening with hearing,
for they are as distinct from each other
as tourists are from pilgrims.
Heart listening, attentive presence,
leads to a holy communion of souls.
It is the truest way to show how deeply we care.
The biggest gift you can give is to be absolutely present.
Our everpresent Maker
abides in silence,
all the better to listen well to everything.
Such sacred heart listening,
as a loving practice,
is God-like behavior.
Listening is the highest duty of love.
The listening Christ
taught us to disarm our hearts
by opening ears once deaf to others.
He commissioned each of us
to heal by listening
to our enemies.
For how can we
be followers of the Christ
till we’ve learned to love those who hate us?
Followers the way of non-violence,
who bear the cross of suffering love,
choose to listen to the ones who would harm them.
And in times of division and conflict
sacred heart listening opens up
the risky road to reconciliation.
When we set agendas aside,
to listen and be listened to,
our desire un-taps a well of understanding.
Your Spirit is at work
when understanding puts an end to strife,
when hatred is quenched by mercy,
and vengeance gives way to forgiveness.
-Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation II
Sacred Heart listening
is how Good News is heard,
broken open and proclaimed.
Choosing to listen
is our first act
in exposing our lives to the Domain of God.
Listen, O Israel:
The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.
You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your might.
Listen like children drinking in a story.
Listen like trees teaching the wind to sing.
Listen with your eyes, with your touch, with your insides.
Nurture your listening heart.
Open a quiet listening space,
and let the noisy world tumble in.
Is this not how healing happens to us?