The Quotable

May you have:
A world of wishes at your command.
God and his angels close to hand.
Friends and family their love impart,
and Irish blessings in your heart!

~~Irish Blessing~~

Monday, March 10, 2008

"Listening as Spiritual Hospitality"

When I visited Poetry, Prayer and Praise the other day, I was reminded of a wonderful book by Henri J. M. Nouwen call Bread for the Journey--A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith. I have used this book for reflection for a number of years and go back to it frequently. I'm not sure I ever finished it because like all books like this I tend to skip the calendar day I missed and go on to the present date. Well, I picked it up today and this was the reflection offered me. A reflection on "listening." That means, "Be quiet, Cathy, I have something to say!"

To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, argument, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence know. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept.

Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to other and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends , to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.

I fear that I am not a very good listener. No, I so want to make my point that I fail to "hear" the inspirations of others...And silence to me is frightening. I feel the "need" to communicate something, anything instead of being silent.

So, at the risk to my pride, I ask for instruction on being "quiet" and being a good listener...PLEASE! It's never too late to learn.

Thanks be to God!


  1. Oh, I love the music on your site. I have one of the Irish Tenors Cd's and I can listen to it over and over again.

    Cathy, thanks for the flowers . . . coming home to them was the perfect ending to a perfect weekend!

    And today? I am going to listen more!

    God bless.

  2. Thanks for that link, I enjoyed it.

  3. You are both very welcome! So glad you dropped by for a visit.

  4. The Lord is afoot, Cathy . . . if you had clicked on the blue colored "listen" on my post you visited today 3/11 (post predated 3/12), you would have been taken to my other blog ( where I quoted the exact same passage from Henri Nouwen's, "Bread for the Journey." We are tracking, my friend and it fills me with pure joy!!!!

  5. We have truly been gifted indeed, Laure!!! Thank you for sharing this with me.

  6. I love the writings of Henri Nouwen and have many of his books.

    I dont always agree with everything he says but there is such a wealth of wisdom to be found in his writings:).

    peace & love to you Cathy:)

    Marie xoxoxo

  7. Cathy, there's always so much to glean from you over here! Thanks for your entry to the booth at the Simply Lovely Fair. It's up and running smoothly, if you get a chance to come over and visit! &:o)

  8. Marie, I always read Henri I think most when I feel discouraged. He has a way of lifting me us because his example of simplicity and love are so evident. Thank you for your visit.

    Lisa, I had such a grand time at "your place". And I am alway so glad you have come to visit! Good day to you!!


Your insightful comments are appreciated and I want all to feel comfortable and welcome here.