Listen with the ear of your heart
A Reflection for Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Find today’s readings here.
“May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to his call.” (Eph 1:17-18)
When I was in college, the Benedictine monks who ran the school frequently cited the Rule of St. Benedict. The prologue of the text, which dates back to the sixth century, begins with this line: “Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”
“Listen with the ear of your heart” was a refrain I would hear over and over again during my four years of college. The image is at once unsettling (I never could quite get over imagining a literal ear growing inside my chest) and encouraging. That the entire rule began with this command—to listen—invites us to assume a posture of humility. Before we teach, preach or proclaim, we must first listen. That’s not always easy, especially when we feel like we have so much to say. It takes a quiet confidence, faith, to listen. Especially with our hearts.
It takes a quiet confidence, faith, to listen. Especially with our hearts.
As I read today’s readings, I was struck by the selection from Ephesians in the Gospel acclamation. To paraphrase, it is a prayer asking that God enlighten the eyes of our hearts.
Focusing on listening with the ear of our hearts and seeing with the eyes of our hearts would transform how we encounter other people, how we see the world around us. It means listening deeply to those around us and seeing them through a lens of gentleness. Being curious about the lives of others and giving them the benefit of the doubt. It also means listening to, and looking for, God’s presence in our lives.