Careful Listening

St. Benedict begins the Prologue to his rule with the words ‘listen carefully,’ I have read the prologue countless times and, for some reason, perhaps a lack of care, have focused solely on the word listen. But, to listen without care is, maybe, not to listen at all?

Care, kairos, is a virtue. Listening carefully means to pay attention, not simply to the words themselves but to the person speaking. Careful listening means paying full attention, and listening with the ear of the heart, not just the ears and the brain. Careful listening also means paying attention to one’s own responses and, reflecting on them. Careful listening implies openness and, an acceptance that our initial, gut, responses may be wrong. Careful listening respects the other and nurtures ourselves. Careful listening has the potential to truly transform.

This year can I take the time to listen carefully?

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