Learning to Listen

That was the title page I flipped past this morning.

And it took ONE sentence to know that I was about to encounter some significant words.

“The preparation for listening to God is listening to others.”

The writer went on to clarify that this is not to say that listening to others is the aim of our life.  Let’s face it, some listening to others feels like a waste of time and energy.

But consider it this way:

“Welcoming our neighbour in this way (listening) will train our hearts to become silent, in order to be ready to receive the secret of the Other.”

It then goes on to clarify what listening to someone is really about in the first place:

“In whatever circumstances, our main concern (in listening) must be not just to receive some message or other, but, through the message, to discover the depths of the heart of the one who is speaking to us.  If we are not able to do this with the brothers we can see, how will we be able to do it with God whom we cannot see?”

Saying it another way, when we listen, we learn to turn our attention from merely grasping what he says to an actual attending to the person-ness of the speaker.  We tune in to him.

That’s sound advice for any of us who agree that the world lacks good listeners.

Such an observation takes on even more weight when if the “him” in question is spelled with a capital H.

Go and listen well, my friends.

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