Advent Day 04: Listening For God …

May you awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and may anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.
— John O’Donohue from Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong

Learning to hear God is much more about becoming comfortable in a continuing conversation, and learning to constantly lean on the goodness and love of God, than it is about turning God into an ATM for advice, or treating the Bible as a crystal ball. My hope is that this book will help you develop an ongoing relationship with God that will involve conversation, communion and consummation.
— Dallas Willard from Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God

There, in the silence that’s never quite silent, I realized that, if there are at least seven thousand wants to speak, there are at least seven thousand ways to listen. And just how few we know. The many ways to listen have been reaching into me for years. To enter deep listening, I’ve had to learn how to keep emptying and opening, how to keep beginning. I’ve had to lean into all I don’t understand, accepting that I am changed by what I hear. In all, it’s been an exciting journey, one that’s made me more alive.
― Mark Nepo from Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What Is Sacred

Martha, Martha… you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.
― Luke 10:41-42

The spiritual life, in other words, is not achieved by denying one part of life for the sake of another. The spiritual life is achieved only by listening to all of life and learning to respond to each of its dimensions wholly and with integrity.
— Joan D. Chittister from Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today

Advent heralds the light: New light shed on old conclusions; the light of hope against the force of darkness; the light from within working to penetrate ignorance; the light of knowledge filling our lives with beauty and wisdom of those who have walked this human path before us and opened the way. As Christmas offers itself once again, we step toward it as the shepherds, little guessing what it will illuminate in our circle of days.  But we step neverthless, uttering a deep prayer that humankind will listen.  We pray that our meager readings and the small offering of our attention will benefit not only ourselves, but the many with whom we inhabit this beautiful Earth.
— Paula D’Arcy from Advent: A Time of Hope

The Ministry of Listening

The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear.

So it is His work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him. Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.

Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking where they should be listening. But he who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either; he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too.

This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life, and in the end there is nothing left but spiritual chatter and clerical condescension arrayed in pious words. One who cannot listen long and patiently will presently be talking beside the point and be never really speaking to others, albeit he be not conscious of it. Anyone who thinks that his time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and his brother, but only for himself and for his own follies.
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Life Together 

See Also:

Prayer

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