Grandma Reuter listened and listened and listened . . . as each child (3-5 of them) told her of happenings at school that day–often the same event. Grandma gave attention to each account as if she were hearing it for the first time. Each child then bounded off having connected with Mom, knowing she had heard them. Listening is a key responsibility of all of us. Give attention and eye contact. Listen and respond to what is being related. Keep the focus on the speaker by holding back from adding our own story as an immediate response. Refrain from interrupting: “I heard that already.” Hear what is said and not said, what the facial expression and tone of voice are communicating. God bends down to hear us (Ps. 116:2). Now God often acts through us. Our listening can enable people to know the intimacy and compassionate presence of God.
By Mary Reuter, OSB