I will listen to what the Lord God is saying, for he is speaking peace to his faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to him. (Psalm 85:8 The Book of Common Prayer, p.709).
When we read those famous first words in the Prologue of The Rule of St. Benedict notice that he is talking about the ear of the heart, as opposed to the physical ear. “Listen, my child to the masters instructions, and incline the ear of your heart.” Benedict returns to the subject of listening throughout the Prologue. He quotes from Psalm 95, “If today you hear God’s, harden not your heart.” “Listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:7). “Come and listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (Psalm 34).
St. Benedict would have leaned about listening from the Desert Mothers and Fathers. In particular St. Moses, who famously said, “Sit in your cell. Your cell will teach you everything.”
Listening to God involves a continuous letting go. Our cell is our interior self, as much as it can be a physical space. Listening to God so that we can hear God speaking peace to us, is strengthened in time spent in silence and solitude; but we must nurture our interior self by remaining open to God at all times. Each moment and encounter is a contemplative experience, if we will only listen for God in our hearts. In her book, Illuminated Life: Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of Light, Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB wrote, “Everything in life is meant to stretch me beyond my superficial self to my better self, the Ultimate Good who is God” (p.24).
Are you listening to God in the here and now?
Peace be with all who enter here.
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB
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