As I began to create this post, I searched for images of listening. Here’s what I found: 1) pictures of ears; 2) people with headphones; and 3) folks with their hands over their ears. Listening is growing difficult in this distracted and over-busy world. Yet true listening is a two-way street, a life-giving interconnectedness.
Good preachers are first of all good listeners. If we are listening, we will know what folks are going through. Then our preaching can address them in ways that connect.
St. Francis hugged a leper to overcome his disgust at the grossness of the disease, so that he could learn to see the human being beneath the flaking skin. We are called to be attentive to others with that same humility.
Focused attention does not take long, but it does take effort. Take a moment in this day to listen more deeply to someone you love. And if you get the courage to do so, take a moment to really listen to someone you don’t love or you don’t understand. And if you are willing to go even one step further, listen carefully to someone who doesn’t like you.