A Priest that I know often sends an email to several people asking for feedback on his sermon idea for the following Sunday. This Sunday's homily is on 'Listening'. Here were my thoughts:
Listening.... it's becoming a 'lost art'
The thing about listening - is that I have to stop talking in order to listen.
Listening to God - I have to stop telling God what I want before I can hear what He wants for me.
And sometimes, listening means that I have to accept criticism - even from the Church (ecclesial & Magesterial). Lately, many Priests are receiving criticism from parishioners & Bishops for speaking the Truth about what the Church teaches and how we, as children of God, should live our lives. My take on this - the Priests and Bishops are our Shepherds. They are the ones that are trying to save our souls so that we can live with the Holy Trinity, the Angels, the Saints, our Heavenly Mother in the next life - in Heaven. Without them, we would be lost.
And if a Priest told me something that I need to work on and I am offended - actually, I should be thanking God for him being here to guide me so that I can become holy. If I am offended - that leads toward pride, which is not of God. This also means that I need to listen ... really listen to what God is telling me through that Priest.
This also goes for the Laity - it is our jobs to help guide others toward holiness. It's not just the Priests - we, as the ecclesial Body of Christ, need to listen to what Christ, the head of this Body, is telling us.
But listening has become very difficult to do -
I get up in the morning, I have the radio on. I eat breakfast at the computer, reading the stories for the day. I get to the train, conversations of others are overheard and the stops are announced. I get to Tower City, music is playing. I get to work, the phones are ringing, meetings are held, cell phones and pagers are going off, emails are read, etc. I get home around 7pm and eat dinner in front of the TV, family and friends call, friends come over, neighbors chat.... we have become such a 'turned on' society that we 'turn off' listening because it happens every minute of every day.
When do we actually MAKE time to pray? When do we MAKE time to listen to God?
Without a synthetic connection to God - like email, pager, phone, TV program - He is tuned out because we can't stand silence. And silence is what is needed when we talk to God.