In 2019 The College Theme is: Listen with an open and humble heart.
Similarly, The Diocese of Sandhurst have dedicated the 2019 school year to the theme – Listen with the ear of your heart.
The 2020 Plenary Council, an important series of church meetings designed to help to discern a direction for the Catholic Church in the future, is using the theme – Listen to what the spirit is saying.
So, it seems that in 2019 we are being asked to Listen!
At the end of 2018 Luci and Brayden worked with the theme of the Plenary Council and with the Diocesan theme to come up with – Listen with an open and humble heart.
If one takes the time to research there is a significant number of scriptural references and the theological thought around the art of 'real listening'.
When I was doing a bit of reading about the notion of listening with the ear of your heart (which is actually a very beautiful, if complex, way of describing the ways in which we can hear what others are really saying to us) I noted something that I had never heard before about a fifth century monk/ come Saint.
St Benedict is said to have been born around 480 AD. His full name is actually St Benedict of Norsia. He was a twin (although nothing more in anything I read said any more about his twin sister). And from what I can see, St Benedict is famous for writing – The Rule of St Benedict. Now it seems that much of what this document says is about how a monastery is to be run but I think that the most significant part of the story I am telling (you are probably wondering where on earth I am going with this!) is that the rules of St Benedict refer often to ‘inclining the ear of the heart when listening’. And much of what he says throughout his series of rules is related to being humble and being a person of love.
It seems that there is a big difference between listening and hearing. From what I have read many great thinkers, and a lot of just very normal everyday people see that listening is really the art of loving, and that in a real way listening to others can be far more powerful as a transforming agent than speaking.
St Benedict of Norsia believed … with Jesus that "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God' " (Matthew 4:4).
St Benedict’s Rules contained an important section on ‘Steps to Humility’. Where he shares his wisdom in sayings such as,
Brethren, the sacred Scriptures cry out to us and say: “Every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and every one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
And …. when a man loveth not his own will, nor is pleased to fulfill his own desires but by his deeds carrieth out that word of the Lord which saith: 'I came not to do My own will but the will of Him that sent Me.'
As you can probably see I don’t mind having a bit to say (I should really practice what I preach and listen more and talk less!) I hope that you can see that this is a really rich theme.
We are blessed to be exposed to words such as Listen, Open, Heart and Humble. Let’s pick up the challenge to see where we might end up from this opportunity to grow as a college community under the theme –
Listen with and open and humble heart.
We are on a journey of listening to God by listening to one another.