FIYH 20-21: Listening

The bishops consider the preacher “LISTENING AND PRAYING,” and pick up somewhat on that theme of mediation we look at earlier in this document:

[20] In order to make such connections between the lives of the people and the Gospel, the preacher will have to be a listener before he is a speaker. Listening is not an isolated moment. It is a way of life. It means openness to the Lord’s voice not only in the Scriptures but in the events of our daily lives and in the experience of our brothers and sisters. It is not just my listening but our listening together for the Lord’s word to the community. We listen to the Scriptures, we listen to the people, and we ask, “What are they saying to one another? What are they asking of one another?” And out of that dialogue between the Word of God in the Scriptures and the Word of God in the lives of his people, the Word of God in preaching begins to take shape.

Listening is prayer:

[21] Attentive listening to the Scriptures and to the people is, in essence, a form of prayer, perhaps the form of prayer most appropriate to the spirituality of the priest and preacher. There is nothing more essential than prayerful listening for effective preaching, a praying over the texts which seeks the light and fire of the Holy Spirit to kindle the now meaning in our hearts. A week of daily meditation on the readings of the following Sunday is not too much time to spend in preparation for the preaching we are called to do on the Lord’s Day. Such regular preparation will allow us not only to savor the word in prayer but also to incorporate the experiences of a full week into our preparation.

This is significant time the bishops ask of their preachers. I know many bishops and priests indeed do this. As an aside, this is a good benchmark at which lectors can aim. When I was younger I used to wonder about the many charisms clergy express in parishes. I wondered how many (or how few) put together the often disparate roles as counsellors, liturgists, administrators, preachers, diplomats, teachers, etc.. I do think that being a good listener is essential to many of these roles. A good preacher who is a good listener will have the grounding to be a good confessor, mentor, and counsellor.
(All texts from Fulfilled in Your Hearing are copyright © 1982 USCCB. All rights reserved. Used with permission.)





About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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