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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

15 December 2010: Ann Johnstone, Parishioner St Laurence Catholic Church

Listening

Listening is an acquired art as I discovered when I was training to be a Samaritan in Bangkok many years ago. We were told that a good listener is understanding, caring, trustworthy and discreet, concentrating on every word that is being said to them without interruption.

I was reminded of the guidelines of my training recently when an elderly couple (the husband was sick) approached me individually and spoke about their concerns concerning each other, each wanting someone to listen.

I then realised that when I pray it is often by rote or for something I want or need help with, but do I ever listen and do I listen constructively to the words of the Readings at Mass, or do I get distracted by the mundane matters or problems of everyday life?

We all live in this materialistic world rushing from one thing to another, especially during the weeks leading up to Christmas, and there is little time over to sit and listen to God or God's Word or to listen to the 'Voice' (the Holy Spirit) inside us that tells us what we should or should not do. Do we listen to the cry of help from our neighbour, or do we just say "There, there" and rush off?

God always has the compassion and courtesy to listen to us, but how can He answer our prayers if we, in turn, are too distracted to listen to His reply?

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