A Listening Church

A Spirituality of Listening

In Laudato Si’ (226), Pope Francis writes of an attitude of attentiveness or deep listening.

We are speaking of an attitude of the heart, one which approaches life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next, which accepts each moment as a gift from God to be lived to the full. Jesus taught us this attitude when he invited us to contemplate the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, or when seeing the rich young man and knowing his restlessness, “he looked at him with love” (Mk 10:21). He was completely present to everyone and to everything, and in this way he showed us the way to overcome that unhealthy anxiety which makes us superficial, aggressive and compulsive consumers.

Article: Listening to others: Pope Francis by Henry Wansbrough in Educa (International Catholic Journal of Education) There are other relevant articles in the issue devoted to “Open to Others

Ron Rolheiser OMI, On Being Perpetually Distracted This article looks at the need to listen in our distractable world.

Benedictine Insights into listening and attentiveness

Catholic, Benedictine Values in an Educational Environment by John Klassen, OSB; Emmanuel Renner, OSB and Mary Reuter, OSB

Listening carefully yields a more accurate understanding of self and the world around us. Mindfulness means being truly present in the moment, understanding or intuiting what needs to be said or done; not said nor done. We may be called to listen in situations such as these: the chemistry student struggling to recrystallize an unknown compound; the chorus of birds waking in the early morning; the developing tension in shoulders needing some stretching; a professor trying to discover a way to motivate a particular student; staying in a conversation in the midst of conflict. For students, listening to oneself may mean re-evaluating a sequence of decisions that have led to the choice of a major. This is a kind of obedience to oneself, to pay attention to an “obligation which urges us to become more than we already are.” At other times it means suspending judgment and being willing to live through uncertainty in one’s perceptions of “good” and “bad.” Sometimes listening will mean attention to the word of God in the Scriptures, as in the practice of lectio divina. This practice of reading the Scriptures and other related texts in a prayerful, reflective manner accompanies and amplifies the listening integral to community worship. The word, through whatever channel it comes, awaits a response.

Benedictines offer world a spirituality of listening: Article in the Western Catholic Reporter by Paul Paproski OSB

Excerpt from The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life, by Joan Chittister, BlueBridge, 2011.

Listening with God: Spiritual Accompaniment by Mother Hilda Scott OSB, Abbess at Jamberoo Abbey, New South Wales.

How to be a better listener

Spirituality and Practice: Discipline à Listening and Deep Listening

Listening Skills: Skills You Need: Listening

6 Ways to Be a Better Listener at Home: Improve communication with your kids: Suggestions from Loyola Press

How to become a better listener – 8 simple tips an Article from Christian Today

TEDTalk Video: Julian Treasure: In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, “We are losing our listening.” In this short, fascinating talk, Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening — to other people and the world around you.

Teaching Listening Skills

Belief in the theological and pastoral value of listening entails rethinking and renewing the ways that priestly ministry is ordinarily exercised, and reviewing its priorities. The Synod also recognized the need to train consecrated persons and laypeople, male and female, to accompany young people. The charism of listening that the Holy Spirit calls forth within the communities might also receive institutional recognition as a form of ecclesial service.

Pope Francis Christus vivit 244

Pinterest ideas for Listening Skills

National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC) Teaching Listening

Edutopia:  Say What? 5 Ways to Get Students to Listen

Listen and Hear My Voice Information & Communication Technology: Media Literacy Resource  (Kindergarten – Grade 8)  Catholic Curriculum Cooperative

Although many young people are happy to see a Church that is humble yet confident in her gifts and capable of offering fair and fraternal criticism, others want a Church that listens more, that does more than simply condemn the world. They do not want to see a Church that is silent and afraid to speak, but neither one that is always battling obsessively over two or three issues. To be credible to young people, there are times when she needs to regain her humility and simply listen, recognizing that what others have to say can provide some light to help her better understand the Gospel. A Church always on the defensive, which loses her humility and stops listening to others, which leaves no room for questions, loses her youth and turns into a museum. How, then, will she be able to respond to the dreams of young people? Even if she possesses the truth of the Gospel, this does not mean that she has completely understood it; rather, she is called to keep growing in her grasp of that inexhaustible treasure.
Pope Francis, Christus vivit 41

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