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Many mornings I sit with four others at “the over eighty” table. The conversation can become hilarious. Sometimes it becomes humorously evident that I or another forgot to put in our expensive hearing aids.

Even when each of us has our hearing aids it is sometimes obvious we have filled in the blanks with what we think is being discussed.

Fortunately, we get along well enough that we are able to joke and even start a string of puns building on what we think we have heard.

This morning’s Vincentian Mindwalk picks from the previous reflection Do Your Spiritual Hearing Aids Need Cleaning?

We can have fully functioning hearing aids but if we have not put them on we miss the point. We only hear what we expect to hear.

Hearing only what we are prepared to hear

As I read our scriptures, I am amazed at how often people did not seem to hear God speaking. Maybe they did not have their hearing aids in.

Of course, I do not see myself as the innkeeper at Bethlehem, Jesus’ neighbors as he was growing up, or like the pious people who could not imagine anything good coming out of Nazareth! I would have also not heard God speaking in those events.

The list goes on of how many people did not recognize him or almost missed being transformed in meeting Jesus because they were not expecting him…  or what he said. They were

  • Mending their nets after a day’s work
  • Attending a banquet in a rich person’s house
  • At an annual Passover meal
  • Behind locked doors

The list is almost endless. When I think of these various encounters with God, I realize that their experience of God was in the midst of their ordinary activity. They were not wearing their spiritual hearing aids.

Vincent and others who had their hearing aids on

Then I think of St. Vincent and how he began to see God in the struggling people in the countryside and then later in the villages and cities of France. He began to read the scripture with new eyes, not as edifying stories about the past but seeing the parallels right before his eyes.

Reading the scripture through the lens of his daily experience Vincent began to hear the many ways Christ was calling him to continue the mission of bringing the good news of salvation. His experience of the suffering Christ of his day transformed him.

Later, Frederic Ozanam heard God speaking in a most unlikely source, an atheist who asked him what Christians were doing for the poor and suffering of his day.

I think of Sr. Rosalie Rendu who discovered that she never prayed as well as when she was walking the streets of a Paris slum.

The point… God does not come to us in the way we want God to come. God comes to us in the ordinariness of our daily lives

If we open our eyes and ears to see and hear, especially the cries of the poor… we will hear our God.

Wearing our hearing aids in the messiness of our lives

The challenge during Lent is to make sure we take time to listen to the God who speaks in the messiness of our lives.

  • Sickness
  • Loss of job
  • End of a relationship
  • Polarization in our society and church
  • Natural disasters

Just name the things that upset you in the last 24 hours. Ask what God might be saying to you in the messiness of your life.

Let’s stop, look and listen to what happened today

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