“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)

Good conversation is a matter of listening. When we listen, we listen on three levels. We listen to what words are being said. We listen to what a person really means by those words. And we listen to the voice of the Spirit within, who is giving illumination to our hearing.

Often while sitting in conversations, certain phrases we’ve heard take on sudden significance. What the speaker meant by a casual expression was deeper than he or she intended to convey. The Spirit has given us knowledge totally apart from the words that were just expressed. Unexpectedly we have come to know some information about this personality, perhaps it is a fear or a problem or the source of the problem. Our next step is to ask for spiritual wisdom about what must be done with this information…

Are we to confront? Are we to keep quiet and only pray? Are we to wait for more data in order to form a fuller understanding? Are we to reach out in compassionate love?

This complicated capacity for listening deeply cannot be developed apart from learning to listen to the Lord in structured, uninterrupted moments. In order to hear His voice, we must remove ourselves regularly from the busy, overly active, exciting, and troublesome outside world.

Contemplation, the fastening of one’s mind on one’s Creator, is the only method by which we can properly develop this interior silence and openness to the Spirit.

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