As an introvert, I often wonder and agonize over whether being a listener and being present to others is enough. Formulating and speaking my thoughts does not come easy for me and my natural bent is to listen, hopefully, assuring the other person that they are heard. Perhaps being a lifelong hearing impaired person has encouraged me to listen deeply. Of course, there are blessings to not being able to hear too and I am certainly guilty of turning my hearing aids off to enjoy moments of silence.
Listening and being present are essential in everything we do and with everyone we encounter. Starting from birth, an infant wails until he/she is heard and attended to. Even at death, it is believed that the last sense to be present is that of hearing. For any relationship to flourish, listening and being present are key to building and sustaining a meaningful relationship. And, I think, whatever the age, we are always checking to see if anyone is listening to us and assessing how present they are to us. When one is not heard, despair and violence can be the resulting outcome.
Listening is hard work and many of us can become better listeners. More often, we’d rather be talking, or doing things, or dreaming about things. But deep listening demands a letting go of self to see and hear what another is truly saying. Deep listening involves hearing and seeing with the eyes and ears of God, without judgment and with compassion. Deep listening invites us to be present to the heart and soul of the other person. Deep listening allows us to connect with ourselves, with another, and with God in a sacred space of understanding and acceptance. Listening to the stirrings within is also beneficial when we are discerning a vocation or making an important decision in life. So, it is important to listen and to be present wherever we are and with whomever we encounter for God is there also, ready to gift us in splendid ways.
May we respond to God’s call as Samuel does in 1 Samuel 3:1-10 and say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”
If you think God is calling you to become a Sister, contact one of our Vocation Ministers to begin the conversation of listening and being present to God’s message in your life.