Библиотеке требуются волонтёры

On Listening

Newsletter N. 36, February 1973.

4 February 1973

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

It says in Holy Scripture «Take heed therefore how ye hear». This saying might be a source of such inspiration for us, of such profundity in life. How do we hear? How do we listen to each other? How do we listen to the voice of our conscience? How do we listen to the word of God Himself? We listen to each other superficially, inattentively. At times we are afraid to hear the grief which sounds in unspoken words. Sometimes we are afraid to listen carefully when a person speaks because to hear means to respond, and not only for a moment with a passing thought when the heart is stirred, but for always as Christ responded to human sorrow and the horror of godlessness, and became man for ever, This is exactly why we are afraid to hear and are unable to meet one another; and therefore our relations remain superficial, they begin to form and then disintegrate. For a moment they seem to be eternal, but they turn out to be a passing dream. Thus do we listen also to the voice of our conscience; we do not attend to it, we do not want to hear its every rebuke and every prompting; we do not want the inspiration or the sound advice that our conscience can give us. We are frightened here too, and we hear only what we want to hear and forget the rest and we pass by our own selves, what we know about life, about ourselves, about people. Instead of growing to the full measure of our potentialities, of being all that we can possibly be, we become shallow and deformed.

But what about the Word of God? The Lord Himself speaks in the Gospels, the Holy Spirit fills them. One such word, if only we would receive it deeply, honestly, seriously, would be enough to transfigure our life, make it deep and wide as the life of God, make it roomy enough to enfold everything human, so pure and fiery that it would not be in danger of contamination and could burn up all the tares. But we listen to the word of God from day to day, from week to week, from year to year, and we remain so terribly cold, because in this case too, we do not want to hear. We want to hear a word that is welcome, but when the Lord pronounces His words we behave like the Athenians did with St. Paul and go away saying «we will listen to that another time». And life remains so shallow and poor, such a two-dimensional life of time and space, without depth, without eternity and without inspiration. The Apostle says «take heed how ye hear», so let us pause and think how we hear. How did we listen to today's Gospel and Epistle? How did we listen to the sermon? How did we listen to the prayers of the church, which are basically our own words of prayer? Let us consider how we shall listen to the people whom God will send us in the next few days, and then let us ask ourselves the question: by what, then, do I live? The voice of my conscience does not reach me, neither as a warning nor as an inspiration; the voice of my friends does not reach me, I hear only what I choose to hear; the voice of God does not reach me; I pass by everything that does not appeal to me. So what is left for me to live by? Whence can I get depth and inspiration, whence can I draw life? No wonder life can be so dull, can trickle by so slowly and drearily, whereas it might be like a gushing spring, already on this earth gushing into eternal life. Let us pay attention to the way we listen, and we shall discover the way to live.

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