Catherine, the little girl that I nanny for, just turned six years old. One of the most amazing things about Catherine is how hospitable she is for such a young girl. When I pick her up from school we stand by the door and wait for her older sister as the rest of the elementary school kids push their way down the hall and out the door. Parents weave their way around the crowd with one, two, three, or more kids attached to them. Catherine not only greets people by name as they fly past us and out the door, but she often tries to find something personal about them to talk about or compliment them on. She does this not only for her classmates, but for the older kids and adults too. Most recently we were standing by the door waiting for her sister and one of the dads that she knew came walking by. She said something in her quiet, six-year-old voice, to him about somewhere she had seen him recently. The dad, not hearing her, kept walking. Catherine spoke to him a second time and, again, the dad didn’t notice. Catherine raised her voice and spoke at a level that most adults speak at, but by this time the dad was so far down the hall, that he didn’t hear her. She turned to me exasperatingly saying “Ugh! Just listen!”
Listen. How often are we so caught up in the chaos of our lives that we miss the opportunity to hear the small voice that is speaking to us, calling out to us. I wonder how many times I have kept on walking or let me own thoughts take over the conversation when God is reaching out to me. The illumination for this week, Listen, says that if we listen we will “blossom like a rose growing by a stream of water.”
The illumination was created by a local Minnesotan, Diane M. von Arx. There are images in this illumination that, if familiar with St. John’s, really connect the viewer to this local place. If you look closely, you can see a bit of honeycomb outlined in the center of the illumination. This is a connection to the pattern of the windows of St. John’s Abbey. There are voiceprint images from Psalms that represent the monk’s song at prayer. Even the command, “Listen,” connects to the opening verse of the Rule of Benedict. These connections remind us that we need not search far to hear God’s voice. If we open the ear of our hearts, and are mindful, we can hear the gentle voice of God speaking to us from right where we are, even in the midst of a hurried day. So don’t walk by unnoticing. Stop. Listen.
© Donald Jackson, 2002 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.