Carmel Bulletin, 17 November 2013
We believe that God speaks to us, his people, particularly in the Liturgy of the Word at Mass. The scriptures provide a rich treasury of God’s continuing dialogue with us. Not only did God speak to those people, at the time that the original texts were spoken or written, but God speaks to us still now. The messages that the scriptures contain still bear meaning and relevance for us today.
Dialogue requires not just speaking, but listening as well. We are called to listen during the celebration of the Eucharist, particularly when God speaks to us in the proclamation of the scriptures.
There is a difference between hearing and listening. We may hear someone speaking to us, but are we attentive to what is being said? Dictionary definitions of listen often refer to paying attention, to making some kind of effort when hearing something. True listening is an active rather than passive activity.
St Benedict encouraged people to “listen and attend with the ear of your heart”. This is a wonderful explanation of how we are called to listen in liturgical celebrations. It reminds us that the word of God doesn’t exist simply to teach us, but to transform us. Listening draws us into a deeper relationship with God, as reflected in Blessed John Henry (Cardinal) Newman’s motto, “Heart speaks to heart”.