One thing I have been doing since my conversion is listening. Listening and paying attention to not only what is going on around me, but hanging on every word of our Lord, so I could listen to the souls around me and become part of their solution, on the journey home for all of us, rather then add to the confusion. The problem I tend to see is that when I am in pain, there is isolation. I have not found the heart besides our Lords that is willing to listen to me. Willing to hear and feel the excruciating pain that I have in this “place”. A good Facebook Priest friend had posted this today and it echo’s exactly what we need, I need, from our Spiritual Directors and all our Priests, religious and Laity. Not to mention in our own homes and family’s. To often we become distracted by our own idea of what someone is trying to say, we fail to listen to what they are actually saying and rather then hear them, we place our own words in their mouths thinking we got it right, when the reality is, its totally wrong.
So many times I have tried to explain to my Pastor things that have been happening, be it in the Parish Community or in my personal life that need serious attention and more often then not, I get the same response, “I don’t have time right now, go tell ____________________ (fill in the blank). Leaving the Ministry’s placed in my hands, falling into a state of serious needs. And of course the next response when something goes wrong is, Why didn’t you tell me……
I often wonder, how many souls are in hell today because someone didn’t have time to listen to them….
“A pervasive societal narcissism threatens to seep down into the minds of us all…The antidote to narcissism and the perennial core of ministry begins very simply: listen. But listen not as a reference to ourselves…We listen by moving out of ourselves trying to connect, to really understand, to live with the other…When you really listen to someone, just for a moment, you sense a deeper connection, heart to heart. The other person senses the deep connection as well. They no longer feel alone. And this connection, this burst of grace, stays with you; it stays with them…True listening requires from us a willingness to open ourselves to the other, heart to heart. When we feel their pain; we feel echoes of our own pain. When we are vulnerable, we open ourselves to being hurt. We are exposed and this can be frightening. I think that this is one reason why we do not listen. We do not want to get involved, to risk our hearts. But this is the price to get the ‘smell of the sheep’ on us. Benedict XVI spoke to us of loneliness. He said that real total loneliness, ‘which is not penetrated and transformed by another,’ is ‘what theology calls hell.’ Hell is isolation. Ministry breaks through this isolation. It form a human bond. This bond between us human beings is the building block of unity and community. It is thus the building block of heaven. If hell is isolation, heaven is communion.”
-Msgr Stephen Rossetti, at the Commencement Address at St Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, MD
The simplest form of mercy, is to listen to another soul. Another form of mercy is to embrace them with the words our Lord gives to us.