Have you ever had a moment when you realize that instead of truly listening, you are merely waiting for your chance to talk? (All you truly patient and humble parents who would scarcely even consider interrupting your little angel as he recounts the how his older brother was playing unfairly or when he wants to tell you yet another knock-knock joke……well… you ladies and gents can stop reading here).
If you are still with me, then I want to transport you to a tiny little “minivan moment” from this afternoon.
“Mom? Do you think it’s almost the end of the world?”
“Z, oh my! What would make you ask that?”
“Well, Grandma Jane and Aunt Jennie have cancer. Aunt Robbi, Mrs. Ferrucci and Mrs. Ryan all had kinda scary surgeries in the last couple weeks and you were at the hospital lots of times. So, I was just wondering if maybe God is planning to bring the moms to Heaven first so when all the kids get there we won’t be scared.”
HOLY COW. I didn’t realize his little mind was racing around trying to make sense of the chaos. Except for the fact that we have been praying together a lot for all these truly terrific women in our lives, I didn’t even sense he noticed much. For a moment, I felt a guilt-filled mom pang. I knew he had been trying to tell me before this moment that he was worried, but I hadn’t been paying enough attention.
After I set aside the guilt, I thought “Our God is an Awesome God!” How would we ever be able to make sense of anything without the gift of faith? This silly little man in my world often reframes things through a Christ centered lens, and his comments often catch me off guard. In his own little 9 year old way, Zach was being faithful, trusting God with his worries about his aunt, grandma, and the mothers of two of his close friends. I have to say, I really love that. It’s a terrific witness of faith from which I could learn much.
You don’t have to do much digging through scripture to find out what Jesus had to say about the wisdom of children and the often beautiful, faith filled example they provide.
When the chief priests and the scribes saw the wondrous things he was doing, and the children crying out in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant and said to him, “Do you hear what they are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes, and have you never read the text, ‘Out of the mouths of infants and nurslings you have brought forth praise?” (Mt 21:15-16)
God’s instrument today for me was my sweet freckle-faced boy. The spirit filled message: Listen to others with the intention to understand, and never forget that faith is a grace filled gift from our amazing God!!
I do believe it’s possible that the most pressing communication foible we suffer from, collectively, is simply being inattentive. Instead of focusing on others, we are thinking about what we will say or do next. I wonder what incredible gifts God has given me that I have missed because I am thinking about me instead of the person to whom I am supposed to be directing my attention– really hearing?
It’s time to drag out that Litany of Humility again before some wise priest issues it to me as a penance……..AGAIN.
Am I the only one suffering from a recurrent case of this listening but not listening malady? Who’s with me?
The litany of humility asks for our Lord’s assistance in humbly following in His footsteps and casting aside, or at least offering up to Him, all those issues that come with our self-centeredness. I am convinced that the fact that each time I read this prayer and never fail to think it is positively dreadful is a sure sign I need to pray it.
LITANY OF HUMILITY
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus. (repeat after each line)
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. (repeat after each line)
That others may be esteemed more than I ,
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.
PS. For what it’s worth, I sent a text to Aunt Robin. She made a “facetime” call immediately to her nephew after hearing about his concerns. Seeing her smiling face did wonders for Zach’s apocalyptic mood. Get well fast, sis! We have a vitally important appointment with Poolbar Jim we simply cannot miss!!