As part of her ongoing series devoted to visual prayer digital artist Sr. Ellen LaCapria, D.C. offers another visual aid to enter into contemplation about the art of listening.
This image arose from her reflection on Pope Francis’ Gospel of Joy and is the third installment of her weekly artistic variations on her community seal. Keep this in mind as we prepare to celebrate Mary, at the time of her Annunciation, who listened and then pondered what sort of greeting she received from the angel. In a moment of grace upon visiting Elizabeth she is able to voice, ‘my soul proclaims in the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit REJOICES in God my savior.’ Are You Listening?
Are You Listening Click to view larger image or download
White noise and static seems to surround our communication pathways. The image represents talking and listening in parallel conversations that sometimes cross but sometimes collide as well.
171. We need to practice the art of listening, which is more than simply hearing. Listening, in communication, is an openness of heart which makes possible that closeness without which genuine spiritual encounter cannot occur. Listening helps us to find the right gesture and word which shows that we are more than simply bystanders.
Only through such respectful and compassionate listening can we enter on the paths of true growth and awaken a yearning for the Christian ideal: the desire to respond fully to God’s love and to bring to fruition what he has sown in our lives.1.
Noise pollution can happen even when our surroundings are still and quiet. We are bombarded by an extraordinary amount of sound every day and night, and that can be our excuse for not listening to our neighbor, to God or to ourselves, but the distraction appears to be deeper than that. It is an attitude of the heart and soul that when quiet enough, it will be receptive to the one who wants to give, and to the one who wants to be listened to. We can turn down our tunes and tv’s, radios and radioactive din of high and low pitched hums and squeals, but if we are not ready to listen from the inside-out no absence of sound will be enough.
How can I prepare myself to Listen? Maybe just being aware…is the beginning of the journey of a selfless encounter.
1. APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION EVANGELII GAUDIUM OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCISTO THE BISHOPS, CLERGY, CONSECRATED PERSONS AND THE LAY FAITHFUL ON THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL IN TODAY’S WORLD
An accomplished artist and credentialed art therapist, she has deeply reflected on “The charity of Christ Urges us!” and used her artistic gifts as vehicle in a kind of Vincentian Visio Divina or practice of viewing art prayerfully to grow closer to God. This is another way to walk in the footsteps of our founders who many do not realize were more mystics than we realize. See more on the mysticism of our Vincentian Mystical tradition with insights from Sr. Gert Foley, SC.