The Interfaith Peace Project is pleased to offer the following reflection celebrating the rise of women’s voice in our time. Please feel free to participate in our project by suggesting women whose voices ought to be heard.
We publish these on-going reflections on the eighth of every month in honor of March 8, International Women’s Day. We are hoping that you will engage your friends in reflective dialogue, maybe even form small discussion groups. Please share with us your feedback and reflections.
This is a reflection first sent out by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P. at Christmas 2017. As the Christian Church celebrates the Assumption of Mary on August 15th and our nation struggles with the separation of children at the border, we thought revisiting this letter would be appropriate.
LISTEN ANOTHER PERSON INTO LIFE
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
A long time ago, a powerful spiritual director answered a question I had in a way that began to change my life. She was soft spoken, unrelenting and ever present to anyone she encountered.
She reminds me of that young woman who legend, myth and Scripture tells us changed the World by simply saying “Yes” to what could only be construed as baffling and strange. That young woman who gave birth to Jesus, who would baffle the World with his stories as he became a friend of strangers, was so attentive to the testimony of wayward shepherds that they burst into songs we cannot stop singing. It is said she “treasured what they said” and so she treasured them. The young mother who was baffled by a voice in her heart was more than open and receptive of those strangers of the night. Perhaps her bafflement was soothed by their testimony. In any event, she pondered in her heart what they proclaimed.
That young woman of legend, myth and Scripture probably could not read or write. She had no prestige or power. Yet she was more than courageous and generous that night as she listened so intently with every fiber of her being. She teaches us how precious it is to be a human being as we are all invited, as Carrie Jackson said, “to listen another person into life.”
So you might be more powerful than you think. You have the power to listen to another so they might burst into song. Never miss an opportunity to manger another person in the cradle of your listening and pondering heart. As that Spiritual Director of long ago said to me when I asked her, “Is there any hope for me?” she responded, “Listen to your heart and fear not what you hear!”
So, my friends, listen to your heart as you would listen to a close and dear friend blessing all of us who might just burst into song as your listening stirs us into the fullness of life.
May the Child born of Mary bless you this year and always with the gift of listening to your heart. May that Child born of love empower you to hear the songs that lurk in the hearts of all who would sing if only someone would listen. Bless you for listening.