Listening With Our Heart
Light has a way of catching our attention. It is ultimately necessary to have light to see in the dark. Light exposes what is hidden in the dark. The coming of Jesus is not unlike this. Isaiah 60:1 says "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon You." When the light of Jesus comes upon us by the Holy Spirit, epiphany happens. What a release when fresh revelation, mystery and glory fill the soul.
Part of our dilemma is that frequently these times of epiphany can occur only after the "light" exposes what is hidden in our hearts. Exposure of our woundedness and self preoccupations cause inner resistance as we let go of them. The presence of Jesus has always required attentiveness. It is in the recesses of our heart that the presence of the Spirit of Jesus draws us gently, inviting us to be attentive to him and his voice, moving us from resistance to revelation.
Being attentive to oneself in the presence of Jesus allows our darkness to surface and be embraced, as we respond to the invitation to light and healing. It assists us being able to sit comfortably within ourselves.
Being attentive to the voice of Jesus frees us to experience the mystery of God as God's Spirit gently leads to new insights and growth. It was Paul's attentiveness to the Spirit of Jesus that freed him to experience the mystery of God (Eph 3:25).
Noticing the voice of Jesus within ourselves assists us to be sensitive to the spiritual needs of others and how God is working in them. Peter and John's attentiveness to the Holy Spirit gave freedom to be obedient in ministry (Acts 8:14-17).
I invite you to awareness of how you are attentive to God. Active listening begins with learning to become still, then to listen with our heart, embracing our thoughts, reflections, emotions: all of who we are in the light of God's presence.
Francis W. Vanderwall in Water in the Wilderness (Paulist Press, 1985) states:
This is exercising one of our most uniquely human qualities the ability we possess of being able to reflect on ourselves, to enter into a dialogue with our inner voice--the Voice that our faith tells us is nothing less than the Voice of our enfleshed God (4)...it is by paying attention to these various movements that we hear the voice of God speak to us with eloquence that sometimes can be startling (15).
Perhaps it was this choice of inner reflection that gave Mary freedom to engage Jesus at the wedding in Cana. Something within the servants drew them to respond as well in sheer obedience to a request. Jesus then, in his graciousness, gave the disciples time to observe this first revelation of his glory--and they didn't miss it--they placed their faith in him (Jn 2:1-11 NIV).
Amy Kuepfer & Wendy Miller Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, VA