Listening isn’t as easy as it sounds. We all know how often we hear or see something, come to a conclusion about what is occurring, only to discover after inquiry that something entirely different was happening.
Actually, this just happened to me today. The mind is prone to creating explanations for what we perceive with our senses. “He doesn’t want me here.” “She is trying to get out of helping.” “They don’t care about the neighborhood.” And on and on…. These are stories: commentaries knit together from the memories, experiences, reactions, wounds of a lifetime. These kinds of stories seem to make a lot of sense, but actually often don’t add up to the truth.
Truth. If we want to listen to the heart of humanity and the heart of God, we are seeking the truth of what it is like to be a human in today’s world, and what God feels toward us as he bends over us with great tenderness.
So why are we listening to the heart of humanity AND the heart of God? If we listen only to the human experience, we can easily lose our way. The heart of God is our GPS for understanding the true dignity of the human person and how that dignity is lived in the historic transitions the world is now undergoing.
So, to really hear the authentic heart of humanity and the heart of God, we need to navigate past stories, our own and others. We need to dig deep for the facts, which means developing skills for understanding what and who is behind the way the news is reported, and choosing our information sources wisely. We need to identify the story-telling which like weeds chokes our vision of the deepest reality of what is happening: the connections, the mystery, the needs, the dreams. And we need to really hear what is at the heart of the situation.
We invite you to listen with us. Too many polarizing issues are tearing apart the country and the world. We aren’t listening to the issues, but the hearts of the people on every side who are trying to find their way through them. We are listening to the heart of God. God teaches us in his Son to fight for our brothers and sisters, even when we disagree with them or believe what they are doing is morally wrong. Jesus loved us when we were yet sinners, and invites us to do the same for each other.
Listening together needs a method. So this is what we propose:
My Sisters will post on the blog (and share to the Group) somewhat weekly on an ongoing basis a video, image, link to a poem, scripture passage, link to an essay, or media literacy component. The My Sisters community can share comments and similar types of material. We will steer clear of political discussions regarding the issues, in an effort to hear more clearly what God may be asking of us.
And so we begin with this prayer:
New Peace Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord Jesus, give us an awareness of the massive forces threatening our world.
Where there is armed conflict,
let us stretch out our arms to our brothers and sisters.
Where there is abundance,
let there be simple lifestyles and sharing.
Where there is poverty,
let there be dignity and constant striving for justice.
Where there is selfish ambition,
let there be humble service.
Where there is injustice,
let there be atonement.
Where there is despair,
let there be hope in the Good News.
Where there are wounds of division,
let there be unity and wholeness.
Help us to be committed to the building of your kingdom,
not seeking to be cared for, but to care;
not expecting to be served, but to serve others;
not desiring material security,
but placing our security in your love.
For it is only in loving imitation of you, Lord,
that we can discover the healing springs of life
to bring about new birth on our earth
and hope for the world. Amen.