My Thoughts 22/02/2022

Last week someone gave me a copy of the rule of St. Benedict. It is quite short but has had a tremendous influence throughout the church since it was written in the sixth century.

The opening sentence of the rule reads,

“Listen, O son, to the master’s precepts; incline the ear of your heart; accept freely the admonition of a loving father; complete it effectively, that you may return through the labor of obedience to Him from whom you have fallen away through the sloth of disobedience.”

I love that phrase – “Listen with the ear of your heart.” As one Benedictine sister wrote on her blog,

“I ask myself, what does it mean to listen from the heart? Does it make any difference to listen in this way? By listening in this way, I hear not just words, but I find a place of feeling and of meaning within the depths of my inner being. I also listen with the intellect, from the place of my true identity.”

To listen with our heart is to put aside all that is filling my heart and preventing me from being open to the The Master. This could be the voices of my own anxiety, fear and prejudice. St. James says,

“You should know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be swift to listen but slow to speak and slow to anger.”

Today Lord help me to listen in the stillness of my prayer, in the scripture I encounter today, and the voices of those that I meet.

Canon Father Anthony Charlton
Canon Father Anthony CharltonParish Priest