February 2014
Reflections of God's Goodness

In so many respects, this is an exciting time we live in. Technology links us in ways unthinkable a decade ago. Sometimes though, the very technology intended to connect us has instead drawn us into a world of isolation. It is not uncommon to see two people out for dinner — each focused on their latest email, text, or twitter. Families may be present in the same house but their focus is on their cell phone, computer, TV or other electronic media!

How can real or deep friendship happen in this climate? How can we listen to one another? One of the most precious gifts we can give and receive in friendship is attentiveness or listening. Emily Dickenson said it this way, “I find it shelter to speak to you.” I think that means that the experience of being deeply listened to is ‘sacred space’, a life-giving encounter.

Last month, we were reminded that Jesus calls us friends. Our God seeks us out, waits for us and offers us His understanding. Coming to God in prayer creates this shelter, where He listens. Through His Spirit and His Word, we find deep understanding. God always has time for us.

Jesus, our example, was such a good listener! Sometimes, He did not even need a spoken word, but His attentiveness to those who came to Him allowed Him to get to the heart of their needs. Jesus did not give them advice, He did not condemn them, and He said the healing words they longed to hear. Words of love and acknowledgement.

Listening and being attentive to another is not easy. Sometimes the external world interferes. Sometimes it’s our internal world. Listening requires us to put aside our own needs and concerns, in order to hear those of another, our friend. It takes us out of ourselves. Deep listening insists that we put our own agenda aside so we can understand the other. Listening requires focus.

Once again, I cannot help but point out that often what is true in our human relationship is also true in our relationship with God. In order to listen to God, we cannot be full of our own ideas about what we need and want; we need to lay aside our ‘agenda’ to listen to God’s agenda.

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
and delivered me from all my fears.

May our friendships grow our art of listening to each other. May we approach our God with our needs confident that He will listen and respond. May we reach out to others with a listening heart so that all of us can experience being sheltered.


Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn's signature

Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn
Director of Development

Listen and attend with the ear of your heart.

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