Tuesday of Week 17 in Ordinary Time
“Listen, anyone who has ears!”
I marvel at how some people have the amazing ability to ‘tune out’ and only listen/accept what they want to hear when receiving advice or counsel. It is almost as if they are self-censoring ideas and thoughts through their own coloured lens. Over the years, and thanks to my own experiences with my spiritual director, I have gradually learnt how to receive whatever others (especially ministry members) say and to ‘let it sit’ without reacting.
And I must say that it has served me extremely well in the workplace. Not reacting immediately to changing situations, or especially in meetings and watching/observing as others pipe up and give their two cents’ worth has helped me be a more calm and rational leader. Consequently, the few times where I have shown some emotion in a response, be it in a meeting or over email (yes, it is possible to ‘emote’ on email) have elicited generally positive, affirming responses (even thanks!) from recipients.
I think a by-product of listening well and attentively is that what you eventually say is received/accepted more readily and given more weight. It is a slightly different take on ‘empty vessels make the most noise’ – in fact for me, a quiet vessel can make a significant sound (in the form of a contribution or bringing value to a discussion).
So when Jesus utters, “Listen…” it is a call for us to be quiet and to retreat to a quiet place so that we can then receive His Word. For many of us who are inundated with ‘white noise’ on an almost daily basis, we find sanctuary in our homes, bedrooms, prayer spaces, even that few minutes under a shower. That is when we collect our thoughts and review whatever is troubling/bothering or even causing us stress. My recent short staycation allowed me to ‘take a break’ – in the sense of spending some time away from work. However, I found myself dealing with work emails just so that others could move forward with their own work. That time ‘away’ gave me the freedom to choose whether or not to respond to others – and it was truly appreciated by all parties involved.
Brothers and sisters, when was the last time you pulled yourself away from the hurly-burly of work (especially in ministry) and allowed yourself the time and space to truly let Jesus speak to you? In today’s ‘insta’-world, many crave for an instant answer or quick-fix solutions that just don’t last. I reckon it is because we don’t truly listen to words spoken because we are too quick to dismiss what we hear. But if we just give ourselves, and each other, the time, space and permission to still our thoughts, even if it is just for a few seconds, we may hear a voice that we’ve never heard before.
I can testify that it is a voice that can cause goosebumps or stirrings within your heart. Keep still. And just…listen.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to remain still as others speak with kindness, with care and with love. Then help us to discern your voice in the words of those who mean well.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for sending us your son Jesus to speak to us in the silence of our hearts. Words which challenge us, reassure us, make us question, empower us, and lift us up.