Each and Every Creature is Connected! We are all on a journey of awakening.
People of faith and good will are called to: Encounter, Accompany, Learn, and Listen as we move towards awakened hearts and minds.
I choose to focus on listening because in my context this is most challenging. Since COVID I have intentionally set up listening sessions for families/ students to share what is on their hearts.
In Pastoral Youth Ministry there are sounds everywhere and expressions being broadcasted from every corner- Billy Ellish, Fortnight, Band, Minecraft, Tik Tok, and YouTube channels of all kinds.
To be awakened one has to actively listen. Listening is a skill learned and importantly one has to be ready to listen with the heart to the pain people carry.
This is ultimately redemptive and reconciling once the motivation is built on faith reason. Faith calls us to stillness as we listen with our hearts to people’s struggles. What struggles do those around you carry?
One has to be still and earnestly seek God’s guidance through the power of the Holy Spirit in listening. Mother Teresa of Calcutta reminds us today that God speaks in the silence of our hearts. Finding moments of silence to listen is a spiritual practice well needed in our world today.
What are the outcomes of listening in stillness? Pope Paul VI reminds us that this instructs reason and will. Reason informs our will to act! That blessed one who spends time listening is able to hear the voices that have been silenced, the voices crying for an open door of mercy.
Mercy is the vein that leads us to God. The Sisters of Mercy are an outstanding example as to what it means to listen in mercy. What it means to be mercy! As a former Mercy Volunteer, I learned many valuable lessons from my supervisor, a Brooklyn Sister of Mercy. A few of the most needed spiritual lessons are highlighted below:
- Listening opens our hearts to pain and moves us in solidarity to liberation.
- Listening brings us into communion with God.
- Listening to the voice of peace/reconciliation prepares us to: act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).
What is being stirred from listening to a voice crying out in the wilderness? Perhaps a reminder to prepare the way!
Maybe an awakening of silence or a spiritual movement!
In this time perhaps a movement of change, a collapse of injustice, a way to redemption. An awakening of faith that all will be well!
Take Away Reflections as you ponder God in the moment-
What sounds are around you?
What is being echoed?
What is chanting?
What is the connection with the movement of the time and sacred scripture?
Sherine Green teaches History of Black Catholics in the Church for Saint Joseph’s College Online Theology Programs. She is the Director of Youth Faith Formation at Christ Our Light Catholic Community in Cherry Hill, NJ.