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This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Underwriting support from:
Sister Chris Wood and friend, Barb, listening to one another.

Sister Chris Wood and friend, Barb, listening to one another.

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. ~Epictetus (or Diogenes according to some sources)

 This is the first in a series of eight brief reflections written by Sister Mary Navarre, OP. A long-time teacher and thought-provoking poetic writer, Sister Mary is a member of the Leadership Team of the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids.

Welcome 2010!  We are out of the "aughts." It has been a tumultuous decade beginning with the horrendous disaster of 9/11. When planes slammed into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, America lost its innocence along with the lives, hopes and dreams of thousands of people. “Why,” some asked, “do they hate us so much?”

The answer is complicated and not at all satisfying. But one thing we’ve learned for sure: we are all connected to one an­other wherever we are on this planet or above it in an airplane. We cannot pretend that the other does not exist, does not suffer, does not feel despair.

What can we do? We can recognize that as humans created by God, we are created for relationship. We are created for community. The Christmas celebration of God’s incarnation reminds us that God became human, came to earth to show us how to live and how to die, but not how to kill. God came to teach us to live, with and for one another.

For the next eight months we will explore one feature or “talent” for this kind of living in community wherever we may be. Community is found where two or more people share a kitchen sink, an office copy machine, a factory floor, a city class­room – any place at all. And we are made for this connection. Living well in and with community might look effortless, but it takes talent and work.

Building on the reflections of Sister Melannie Svoboda, SND on Talents for Living in Community, we will explore one talent needed for living in peace with our sisters and brothers worldwide each month for the next eight months.  This month we explore LISTENING.

The person who knows how to listen deeply, without judgment, without trying to “fix it” is indeed a treasure in the community. This is not the “waiting for my turn to talk” kind of listening, but rather a deep listening that is reflected in the eyes of com­passion, the touch of gentle understanding and the heart of loving without strings attached. You know these people – you may be one of these people.

Find someone and share these ideas. What did you realize - perhaps for the first time?

 submitted by: Rosemary Steers, Communications Specialist, Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids


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 No matter what faith...your article has meaning for all humans. Listening is the first step in really understanding. Thanks for sharing.