Embracing Listening

Photo: Sister Nancy A. Sell, OSF

It had been a long day.  I walked outside from the parish offices after an evening meeting.  It was about 9:00PM.  Tired and hungry, I was eager to get home.  As I approached my car I looked in total dismay. One of the tires was flat.  I was the last person to leave, everyone was gone.  I went back inside to my office to call AAA.  They came in a reasonable amount of time.  As the mechanic changed the tire and discovered the nail that caused the flat, we talked.  Oh, you’re a nun?  Yes, a School Sister of St. Francis.  I had your Sisters in school he said.  Is Sister so and so still around?    Yes.  I said.  I am an excellent mechanic because of her, he told me as he changed the tire.  Whenever another mechanic cannot diagnose a car problem they call me, he said.  Curious, I asked him what this Sister did for him to make him such a good mechanic.  She taught me music, he said.  She taught us to listen for the various notes and sounds and movements.  He chuckled.  She had us singing everything.  Learning music taught me to listen well.  I can hear sounds in cars no one else can, he said. 

Although this situation took place many years ago and I am no longer ministering in that parish I remembered this event the other evening at Taize Prayer at our Motherhouse chapel.  There was a concert following Taize prayer.  A flutist.  He played music written by an Islāmic composer.  The explanation in the booklet reflected the composer’s sense that music takes us deeper into the divine presence. A connection exists with divine presence listening and trust.  Let’s listen to a story from the Christian Scriptures, Mark 12:38-44.

 Jesus is sitting next to the treasury observing all that is taking place.   People put in heavy coins and they clanged as they went in.  They then left and spent lavishly, providing for everything that they need.  Jesus is ready to get up when a woman, a widow, walks in looks around thinking everyone is gone and puts in a few small coins.  It is all she has, she went home to an empty pantry.  Jesus turns to his disciples and says.  Did you see that?  Jesus speaks emphatically, she gave everything she had, her whole livelihood, she doesn’t have anymore coins.  What ?  The disciples retort.  Why would she do that?   She trusts in God, Jesus says.  She listens to the music of her heart and in that melodic sound she feels a strong sense of the divine presence to lead and guide her.  Listening led her to trust.   

Listening.  Movement.  Trust.  A different wave length.  Energy.  Our lives.  As we listen to the various sounds and movements  of our lives our inner spirits reach to “hear” the melodic presence of the divine.   As we journey through life encountering the hills and valleys of life, the joys and disappointments, traversing various terrain,  we listen even more attentively to sounds of the divine within and around.  Listen.   Quiet.  Still.   Listen.  Like softly falling snow, we listen for the quiet beauty.   

The ears of our hearts are open reaching for divine spirit’s movement within each of us however, wherever and with whatever name we nurture, allowing us to trust.

  Mystery. Openness.  Wonder. Listen.  Trust.

Our invitation is to embrace listening.

Blessings and peace,

About SisterNancy

I am a Catholic Sister, a member of the School Sisters of St. Francis from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I enjoy swimming and nature: hiking in the mountains and along rolling hills, sitting by water and walking through the various seasons of life. I am a spiritual director, spirituality consultant, chaplain and retreat director. You can contact me at sisternancyosf@gmail.com
This entry was posted in beauty, Catholic Sister, divine, listening, mystery, Spirituality and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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