Whoever answers before listening, theirs is folly and shame.
Know this my dear brothers and sisters, everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, (James 1:19)
There are key elements to our efforts to renew the Church. I am more and more convinced, by my own experience, of the need to keep Christ always in mind, always our focus. Life in Christ; our life in the Church is always ultimately about love.
Listen to Jesus.
Jesus is the WORD of God made flesh. Any word spoken must be heard, received, understood, and this is only possible if we are listening. The art of listening is most especially true in regards to God’s WORD, Jesus. Archbishop Sartain speaking to the bishops of Region XII on retreat this month said: “God gives us his Son, a Single Word, and has no more to say.”
During the transfiguration of Jesus, a voice is heard from a cloud: “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” (Luke 9:35)
Listen to Jesus.
Silence. Prayer. Scripture. Sacraments.
The Church was instituted by Christ; flowing as water from his pierced side and blood from his wounds. Through the waters of baptism Christ initiates us into his divine life and shares with us his mission. Everything in the Church flows from the dignity of baptism, which means it flows from the gift of Christ. Every vocation in the Church flows from Baptism. Every challenge we face ultimately finds the seeds of solution from within the Church; from Christ himself.
Listen to Jesus.
Thursday I spent three hours with our Archdiocesan Priests’ Council, then later had an hour zoom call with our priests. Today I had the great privilege of spending the morning visiting with our Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. Later, I celebrated Mass with our newly constituted Archdiocesan Youth Council and spent a few hours with them, over lunch and then in an hour-long session sharing with them my experience of the Synod this past October. They are spending the weekend together, sharing faith, listening to the Lord and to one another.
Each of these moments were prayerful experiences of listening to others, and I walk away from these encounters inspired and assured that the Lord has given us all we need to carry on his mission – we just need to continue to empower more and more of all the baptized to take up their rightful role in the Church, share their gifts, and make us whole and holy!
When the faithful gather in the name of Jesus, we do so as the Body of Christ, a body of believers whom Christ has made us! Thus, with proper respect and attentiveness, in the midst of our conversations, we have another opportunity to listen to Jesus, through the voices of the baptized.
May we renew our commitment to prayer – to renew our personal relationship with Jesus. May we spend time with God’s holy Word – the Sacred Scriptures – listening. Contemplating. May we faithfully gather with others to celebrate and receive the Eucharist, that we might be nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ, and strengthened by the faith of others. May we ask for a deeper knowledge of the Father’s will. May we be more sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Our experience of the Holy Trinity is what we seek to renew our faith and the life of the Church. Jesus as the Son of God came into the world that we might know God. May we grow as disciples of Jesus and advance his mission.
Let us Listen to Jesus.
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him. … Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. (John 14: 21, 23)