Day off (6) Donkeys are great listeners

mangy-donkey

Donkeys, however mangy, can sing and are intelligent, only doing what they understand. They’re not stubborn, which is what mules are. And they listen. Look at those ears! And… and… they are always with the Holy Family.

Part of the day off is always listening, which does me heaps of good, as I have some great conversations about all things good, like heaven, like the goodness and kindness of Jesus. This time I listened to some pretty desperate stories in the midst of all the wonderful trust in our Lord’s providence and love for us fallen human beings.

It’s been a pretty full week. Besides the Stroupe guy, still on the loose as I write this, there was also the horrific murder in front of a parishioner’s house. I note that how he really died according to eye witnesses and what was put in the papers are two very different things. Obviously the police are holding their cards close. Monstrous. Grisly. And then there was a suicide in the family. They are all bad, but this was a really bad one. How to say it? And then, apart from all that, there was a really bad injustice. Etc., etc., with one thing worse the other.

When I was a seminarian, I asked one of my half-sisters for advice on how I should go about being a priest. She immediately said that she did have one bit of advice, which was that, unlike so many of the priests she knows, I was always supposed to listen to those who want to be heard. I’ve always remembered and followed that advice.

Sometimes listening has gotten me into terrible, terrible trouble, but, mind you, without any regret on my part. I would do it all over again a thousand times. Sometimes when you listen and no one else will, you save a person’s soul. I’ve seen it so very many times. Sometimes when people get upset with you for listening, it’s because they don’t want you to hear things that will get them into deep trouble, and they are rather unhappy about that. ;-)

But always, always, always, I’m the one who benefits from listening. There are some great saints among us, because Jesus is so very good and so very kind. I’m inspired by that.

And, just to say, Jesus is good at listening. He listens to the Father speak the One Word Who He Is, that very listening being the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. The Father speaks Jesus to us. If we listen, that Word will reverberate within heart and soul. That doesn’t mean, for my part, that I’ll be any less of a donkey, but that’s O.K. There’re a lot of good things to say about donkeys. Anyway, Jesus has listened to me a lot. Also when I go to Confession. He’s good about that. Oh, and, by the way, the donkey is the symbol forever for the Jewish people. I call to mind Alexamenos.

alexamenos

1 Comment

Filed under Confession, Donkeys

One response to “Day off (6) Donkeys are great listeners

  1. elizdelphi

    That is some great advice you received. That s incredibly important for a priest to be willing to listen. Priests can cause a lot of suffering and alienation by not listening, this has been my repeated experience. I think I can understand some of the reasons why they don’t. But it can be really difficult when a priest who it matters so much to me to have a good relationship with really is not interested (or has a definitely limited interest) in listening, knowing me better, helping me in time of distress, understanding or communicating. Really there is no reason why the priest owes me his time and attention or should think well or kindly of me or why it should matter to him to have a good relationship with such a bothersome person as me, except out of charity. At long last I have found one priest here who really listens and cares and besides the fact that he is very intelligent and prudent that makes him so helpful. Having NOT been listened to so much by priests, it is astonishing that one sincerely wants to and I have a considerable impression of his goodness. He is Jesus to me. Maybe the other priests were to teach me to be grateful for such kindness and not take it for granted.
    Am I the only one with a devotion to Alexamenos? Can we open a cause for him? I think he should be the patron saint not just of kids picked on for being Christian, but all kids that get picked on through no fault of their own.

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