Hearing/Listening

September 9, 2019

“In Luke 8:16-21, Jesus is preaching to a large crowd in the synagogue and His mother and brothers were trying to get in to see Him but could not because of the amount of people. He told the crowd both to “take heed how you hear (vs. 18) and that His mothers and brothers are those who hear the word of God and keep it (vs. 21). It was not Christ's will to deny His mother and brothers. Rather, Jesus is correcting both them and His hearers “to the right idea concerning Himself,” that the family of His Kingdom “is not by nature but by virtue.” We acquire this virtue in large part by what we choose to hear, that is what we seek to listen to most in the first place (because life is full of noise and distractions), and then how we choose to hear it. (Sacramental Living Ministries, Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 8:19-21)

 

“To hear the voice of God accurately, one must discern the Lord’s presence, recognize His hand in events, and thus receive great blessings…If the grace of the Holy Spirit is withdrawn from the hearer's mind, the sense is immediately dried up.” (Dynamis 6/24/2019, St. Gregory the Great)

 

“…the senses are the doors and windows through which either life or death enters the nous and, in turn, the heart. Life, he explains, enters when our senses are well governed, whereas death enters when we partake of sinful passions that harm the soul. Whatever enters man’s heart comes in first through the senses and then enters the nous [the deepest part of ourselves]. Impure music, for example, has the ability, after entering the nous, to go down into the heart, at which point it is easy for a man to sin in his heart (Matt. 5: 28). If the sinful image seen by the eyes or the sinful sound heard by the ears remains in the nous, it clouds it, making it ill, and the disease—if left untreated—spreads and infects the heart. For this reason, the Fathers have taught us above all to guard and cleanse the nous. Christ said, “First remove the plank from your own eye” (Matt. 7: 5)—in other words, purify your nous.” (St. Nikodemus, Constantina R. Palmer)

 

“…contemporary man lives in an environment full of many unclean sights and sounds, and quite likely he has grown accustomed to the passive state in which he allows all manner of impurity to enter through his senses.” (Constantina R. Palmer)

 

“Let listening to worldly news be bitter food for you, and let the words of saintly men be as combs filled with honey.” (St. Basil the Great)

 

“Again and again, we encounter this phrase in Jeremiah: “The word of the Lord came” (Jer 1:1)…The word of the Lord comes to everyone – yes, even to you and me. Many of us will not hear it, however, and with the passage of time many cannot hear. Jeremiah’s experience raises the question of whether the word of the Lord is a constant in our lives. When was the last time we heard the Lord? Even if we can say, “The word of the Lord came to me,” let us ask ourselves whether His word holds the same the certainty for us that it does for Jeremiah.” (Dynamis 5/27/2019)

 

“What most often gets in the way of the Lord’s word? It is our self-will…Self-will diminishes our ability to hear… “I will go now.” “I will tell her what I think.” “I will not pray this morning.” Suppose the matter were the other way around? What if the Lord said, “Go later,” or “Tell her what I, the Lord, think.” Suppose the word of the Lord came with the message, “Pray this morning.” Self-will rules our lives quietly, slipping in unnoticed. We do not like being told what to do! We may never say out loud, “I do not like God telling me what to do,” but in fact we often tune Him out.” (Dynamis 5/27/2019)

 

“God reveals His will to those who are sensitive to His leading…Most often, God does not speak to us out of the blue. He speaks to us when we are listening. The Holy Spirit gave distinct direction to the listening, sensitive believers of the first century, and He leads believers in the same way today.” (Foundation Study Bible, Acts 13:2-4)

 

‘Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word’ (John 8:43. Not being able to hear Jesus’ word, the word of the Word Himself, has nothing to do with our physical ears but rather our proud hearts. In John 12:28-29 when the voice of the Father came from Heaven the Disciples heard it clearly. Some heard it as an angel speaking and some heard it just as thunder. They all heard with their ears but only the Disciples could truly hear with the ears of their humble hearts and had discernment.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

 

“Christ warned his listeners—and us—to “take heed how you hear” (Luke 8:18, emphasis author’s). In that phrase, the Lord revealed that how we hear the truth reveals the real state of our souls and whether or not we have integrity, courage, or humility.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

 

“In a world of crescendoing noise, we must prioritize listening to God through His Word and His Church over our many other distractions. Also, to hear well, I have to love the speaker. It’s easy to ignore someone you don’t love, but make no mistake: learning to love God is the first commandment. If you’re ever going to love Him enough to making hearing His voice your top priority, you are going to have to actively pursue Him where He is found.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

 

“Through Scripture, creation, the church, and by his Spirit, God fills the world with his voice. The only issue is, “Are we listening?” (John Loftness and C. J. Mahaney)

 

“Prayer as listening is our first step towards hearing God…The Spirit communicates with those mortals who have attained a measure of personal purity through prayer, men and women who are receptive to His voice.” (Archimandrite Sergius OCPM 12/31/2017)

 

“It’s easy to see God in the miraculous. It’s not so easy to see Him in the mundane. But that’s where most of us live...This is all the more reason why we need to be sensitive to His voice—so we can be aware of and attentive to the subtle ways in which He works.” (Charles Swindoll)

 

“Since vocation – calling – is necessarily a vocal matter, God speaks directly to set His design before each person. We hear Him in our hearts as He seeks to break the bonds that keep us from responding to His call.” (Dynamis 4/4/2018)

 

"A man prayed, and at first he thought that prayer was talking. But he became more and more quiet until in the end he realized that prayer is listening.” (Soren Kierkegaard)

 

"A woman said to her priest, “Father, I go to church and am very active in this parish; I attend a Bible Study class weekly; I read beneficial books and I have all these Apps on my phone, from daily scripture readings to inspirational speakers… But I have no peace, and I don’t feel that I really pray to God.” And her priest said to her, “Well, while you’re doing all that, you probably don’t let God get in a word edgewise.” (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

 

“A prayerful spirit is the spirit to which God will speak. A prayerful spirit will be a listening spirit waiting to hear what God says." (Andrew Murray)

 

"Hearing provides us with information and direction and encouragement in support of action. If we hear and then do nothing, the hearing was to no purpose, and God's will for our lives was thwarted, and Christ died in vain for we remain separated from God.” (Fr. Joseph Irvin)"Only those who are mature in faith can hear and discern the promptings of the Spirit." (St. John Chrysostom)

 

“God gave us two ears but only one mouth for a reason. Listening is usually more important than talking. But we can listen and still not hear. The ability to really hear grows within us over time in our continual dedication to our Lord. The Lord emphasizes the importance of hearing for our spiritual growth and formation.” (Sacramental Living II)

 

“Human ears hear many sounds, but there is a deeper kind of listening that results in spiritual understanding.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 13:9-10)

 

"He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Jesus Christ, Matthew13:9)

 

“Often it is not through listening to preaching but listening to friends that brings us home spiritually.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

 

“I was amazed to discover that service can be as small of an act as just listening to someone's story…Listening is the language of love.” (Munir Pavez, Elaine Michaels)

 

“Helping others doesn’t mean we should automatically rescue them from suffering the consequences of their actions. Suffering can be a valuable teacher to help us modify our future behavior. The important factor is that we listen to them deeply...By listening to them, you are sending the message that they matter to you and to God. What matters is that you are there to listen with compassion and gentleness.” (Father David L. Fontes, PsyD)