Saturday, March 12, 2005


I have spent the last week listening. During two days of solitude I listened to my own thoughts quieten. I realized how I am often deafened by worry, and paralyzed by the concerns of life. In quietness, apart from family responsibility it was possible to bring my will to focus on God. It was possible, also, to listen with my eyes, to record in watercolours some memories of spaces, places and times where I have felt at peace.
Then solitude was followed by other kinds of listening. I listened to lectures and to students practising the art of counselling. Sometimes betrayed by my ears, I tried to listen with my heart. Thank God for eyes and see gesture, posture, movements and tears.
And while I was listening to others, someone else was listening to and observing me. At the very end of the week, a new acquaintance, sensitive to God's voice asked to pray with me. She helped me to give voice to issues that have been lying silent in the back of my mind, issues related to trust and love and will. I suspect I will be writing about this in the next few days.
Imagine my surprise then, upon returning, that the Henri Nouwen daily thoughts were dealing with this very topic.

Henri Nouwen has written:
Listening in the spiritual life is much more than a psychological strategy to help others discover themselves. In the spiritual life the listener is not the ego, which would like to speak but is trained to restrain itself, but the Spirit of God within us. When we are baptised in the Spirit - that is, when we have received the Spirit of Jesus as the breath of God breathing within us - that Spirit creates in us a sacred space where the other can be received and listened to. The Spirit of Jesus prays in us and listens in us to all who come to us with their sufferings and pains.

When we dare to fully trust in the power of God's Spirit listening in us, we will see true healing occur.

For those who don't already know this site, Henri Nouwen's wisdom can be found at:

1 comment:

bobbie said...

oh i love that quote - it hit me between the eyes when i read it the first time, and this time worked into my heart!

i am not a very good listener sometimes. i find that my desire to be heard outweighs at times my desire to hear. i long for that to change.