Grace to you!
Today's reflection focuses on the blessing of a listening ear concerning God's Word.
Growing up, I learned a lot from my native culture as an Igbo. Igbo is a tribe of about forty million people, predominantly found in Southern Nigeria.
I learned how, in our villages and rural communities, smart children know how to sit and listen to elders in the common room or the village square where the exchange of ideas occurs. The child who carries his father's bag and accompanies him to the village meetings learns so much and matures so fast. That child has early exposure to the wit of gray hair. In the process, they become old souls in a faster lane to the company of the wise.
They learn because they listen. Equipped with firsthand information about village stories and histories, new proverbs, idioms, and folklore, they benefit from mentorship in the elders' critical thinking skills. Hence, we have a saying that "ear is old age" (literal translation), which means that anyone who listens, matures fast.
Similar ideas are in many cultures. I find it in the classroom, with that student who listens and asks pointed questions. I see it in the documents of Higher Education pedagogy, which promotes critical thinking and listening. Critical thinking is preceded by critical listening. Or, rather, they work hand in hand. Anyone who listens well tends to think deeper and know better. It is unlike anyone who utters before even he or she thinks. To listen is to be equipped for tomorrow. To ask relevant questions and listen to the answers is to have free access to knowledge.
What do you do when you open the books and writings of great minds? Do you do so to tell them what to say or write or listen to what they have to say? In reading, one is actively listening. One matures faster by doing so. Hence, a person of many books is exposed to a vast array of knowledge.
The person who listens has all it takes to jumpstart the path of creativity. It’s a crucial skillset.
God’s Word informs this principle too. It strikes me that faith is an act of listening to God. Or it comes by hearing (Rm 10:17). It’s an act of intentional commitment to hear God and listen to what God has to say.
I see it in the conversations between Jesus and his disciples, as recorded in Matthew 13 and many other parts of the Gospel. For example, we read of how the Lord "dismissed the crowds and went into the house." Then, his disciples approached him and asked him to explain the parables of the weeds in the field (Mt 13:36-37). In other words, the disciples came to the safe space, divine home, and asked for the empowering knowledge they had already been disposed to hear.
The Lord does not deprive such requests. The Lord does not say no to anyone who wants to hear and know, for he tells us that the one who has ear ought to hear (Mt 13:43).
In a spiritual sense, the one who has been naturally created for transcendence, for a higher, deeper relationship with the Creator, ought to heed the promptings of God whispering in their spiritual faculties of perception.
I pray that our ears may be open to God's Word as He continues to speak in various ways today. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday Week 17: Ex 33:7-11; 34:5-9, 28; Mt 13::36-43]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.