It’s only by taking myself away from clutter and distraction that I can begin to hear something out of earshot and recall that listening is much more invigorating than giving voice to all the thoughts and prejudices that anyway keep me company twenty-four hours a day. ~ Pico Iyer
What are some of the first things that parents wait to experience when they have their first child? They wait to see their baby move, to roll, to crawl, and, eventually, to walk. They wait, as well, for their child’s first words. They almost always hope that the first word is “mommy” or “daddy”. Until their child speaks, they listen to a variety of noise that comes from their child’s mouth. The child chatters incessantly as that child tries to form first words.
And then the word happens. Mama or Dada or doggie or some other word comes out. From there, the words begin to flow. The child realizes that everything has a name and that, if that name is spoken, the child can get what he or she desires. The child learns that speaking is an important way to interact with the world.
And so the talking continues, and continues, and continues. There comes a point in most parents’ lives where they even entertain the thought that they wished their child never learned to talk. There would be peace and quiet in the house if that were the case. Instead, they try to sift through all the noise of the child’s speaking.
God is a lot like those parents. He forms us in His image and likeness. He waits for us to speak our first words. He probably hopes that our first words would be “Abba”. And we learn to speak. And then we learn that our words have power. And then we barrage our God with words, forgetting the most important art of conversation: If you are going to have a conversation, it requires not only speaking but listening.
Today is the feast of St. Martha. She had her priorities all confused. She believed that everything important was in the speaking and in the doing. She was upset because her sister, Mary, was enjoying a conversation with Jesus, their house guest, while she was busy with the duties of hospitality. She forgot that one of the most important duties of hospitality was to welcome the guest, to sit, and to listen.
We become so focused on our own lives that we often forget to attend to the Lord as well. He comes to us regularly. Are we too busy to sit and listen, to have a real discussion with Him?
FAITH ACTION: In quiet prayer this day, ask St. Martha to intercede for you, that you might overcome your distractions and worries in order to listen to God’s words and be present to Him this day.