The poet, W.H. Auden, offered a wonderful insight about Pentecost in a lecture, “Words and the Word.” He reminds us that it is not only the gift of the Spirit to prompt and empower the ability to speak various languages; but also the ability to listen. “As writers, readers, human beings, we cannot speak to or understand each other unless we are first prepared to listen,” he wrote. “Of all the gifts that the Holy Spirit is able to bestow, the one for which we should first and most earnestly pray is the humility of ear.”
How often do we find ourselves in situations where we don’t speak the same language? “Humility of ear” invites us to not only hear what the other is saying, not only the words, but to listen for the experiences, the hurts, the hopes, the damage and the dreams that give birth to the words. To listen deeply to another invites us to set aside or at least suspend for awhile our preconceived ideas about the other, our cherished insights and treasured positions, and open a space in our hearts for the other’s story.
As Auden said, “The Christian Church came into being at Pentecost. The gift of the Holy Spirit on that occasion is generally called the gift of tongues, but it might equally as well be called the gift of ears.” As we celebrate the birthday of the church, we pray for the Spirit’s gift to listen to each other’s hearts.
On this Memorial Day weekend, we hold in prayer Nhan Dominic Bui, C.PP.S. who will be ordained a deacon on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at the ASC Center Chapel in Wichita, KS. We are grateful to our brother, Bishop Joseph Charron, C.PP.S., who will preside and confer upon Nhan this sacrament of service in the church. And we are grateful to our sisters, the Adorers of the Blood of Christ for their hospitality in hosting this significant event not only for our church, congregation, and province, but especially for our mission in Vietnam. Congratulations, Nhan! May the Spirit not only grant you the gift of tongues to preach God’s Word, but even more the “gift of ears.”
We continue to hold in prayer all those in Nepal who have experienced such devastation and loss. The Kansas City Province recently sent $10,000 to Catholic Relief Services to help our brothers and sisters in Nepal.
Finally, we hold in prayer this Memorial Day weekend all of those who are in harm’s way, all those in places of violence, war, famine and fear. As we listen with our hearts to the echoes of those who have died, may we recommit ourselves to be people of peace. Have a safe and sacred weekend!
Fr. Joe Nassal, C.PP.S.
For the Leadership Team