The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. … A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.
Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom
Listen is such a little, ordinary word. Yet we all know the pain of not being listened to, of not being heard. … In a way, not to be heard is not to exist.
Margaret Guenther, Holy Listening
Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak.
James 1:19b (NRSV)
The origin of all trouble
Within this world
Is a single word
Spoken in haste.
Moritake Arakida, One Hundred Poems about the World
If one gives answer
it is folly and shame.
Proverbs 18:13 (NRSV)
You know they're going to hit you from all sides; better make up your mind who to, who not to listen to.
Amy Grant, "Who to Listen To," on Unguarded.
Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.
Helen Keller, The Story of My Life
When hearing is good, speaking is good.
Ancient Egyptian proverb in Ancient Near Eastern Texts
The whole idea of vocation, whatever form that vocation may take, implies the response to a call. If I am to live up to my vocation, I must go on listening for this voice. "Today, if you hear my voice, harden not your heart." That phrase of Psalm 95:7 makes a wonderful opening to daily prayer.
Esther de Waal, A Life-Giving Way
To live without listening is not to live at all; it is simply to drift in my own backwater.
Joan Chittister, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily
There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
When we have met our lord in the silent intimacy of our prayer, then we will also meet him … in the market and in the town square. But when we have not met him in the center of our own hearts, we cannot expect to meet him in the busyness of our daily lives.
Henri J.M. Nouwen, ¡Gracias!
Past Reflections columns include:
- Death and Eternity (Oct. 24, 2000)
- Quotations of Time and Eternity (Oct. 11, 2000)
- Quotations to Contemplate (Sept. 21, 2000)
- Christian virtues (Aug. 22, 2000)
- Beauty, Prayer and Loving God (Aug. 1, 2000)
- Prayer, Silence and Other Topics (June 31, 2000)
- Getting, Giving, and Generosity (June 13,2000).
- Easter Sunday (Apr. 3, 2000)
- Good Friday (Apr. 3, 2000)
- Friendships (Mar. 6, 2000)
- Gratitude: Take One (Feb. 7, 2000)
- God Will Prevail (Oct. 25, 1999)
- The Might of a Dandelion (Oct. 4, 1999)
- Losing Touch with God (Sept. 6,1999)
- Real Joy (Aug. 9, 1999)
- Prayer for Today (Mar. 1, 1999)
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