In heartfelt listening to the stories of the underprivileged, vulnerable, wounded, and poor, I find that the realm of the heart is reached. Here’s how. First, in listening, I begin to hear the voice of love and compassion within myself as I understand their plight; and, if I understand, then I cannot help but love; and when I love, I will naturally act in a way that relieves suffering.

     Second, I can journey with them back to their own heart and woundedness – my hope being that in our mutual experience we are not abandoned in our woundedness, but rather our wounds become the places of encounter with the compassionate heart of Jesus, and this becomes a place of transformation and new growth.       

     Third, I may discern a deep, underlying meaninglessness and emptiness in their lives, the consequence of life blindly led by the dictates of the ego – and I may be able to gently nudge those so afflicted in the direction of the journey back home to God.

     Fourth, I come to understand what respect means – it is not aloof and detached; rather, it acknowledges the worth of others, relates to them as they are (not what I want them to be or think they should be), and accepts them as they are (even with their defects).

     Finally, in listening to the weak at a deeper level, I may also hear another reality within their self, their indwelling soul – a crying for God and yearning for the fellowship of the Spirit. With such receptive listening, I may be able to guide them to their heart’s sacred Presence – God within, who is their hope of glory.

Reference: Alexander Peck

Photo credit: Intellimon Ltd.



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