Brazil – Listening: the basis of dialogue

04 March 2020

(ANS - São Pablo) - In a hyper-connected context, everyone wants to speak, have a voice, write what they think, feel, know, believe. Social networks are multiplying, there is room for those who want to write a complete text or just a few words that do not exceed 160 characters; or for those who want to share only a symbol, an image, an icon of what they are thinking. Thousands of voices that want to be heard amid the voices of the modern world.

The term "listen" comes from the Latin and means to listen carefully, that is, it does not refer only to the process of decoding some words, but goes further. To listen, it is necessary to be silent and hear what the other has to say. Listening requires you to leave your world to immerse yourself in that of the other.

According to Pope Francis: “Listening is much more than hearing. Hearing refers to the sphere of information; listening, on the other hand, refers to the sphere of communication and requires closeness. Listening allows us to take a proper attitude, abandoning the condition of spectators."

Without listening there is no dialogue, only noise. In a world where there is no dialogue, violence grows, because opinions different from mine become a danger for me. A violent society is a deaf society, unable to feel the pain of others, unable to see reality. It is a sick society!

Jesus, our communication model, often began a dialogue with questions: "What do you want from me?"; "Who do you say I am"; "Do you love me?". On other occasions, he simply let people go to him and ask him for something. While knowing many things, or perhaps already knowing everything he would hear, Jesus listened, letting the word of the other resound in his heart. Jesus is not afraid to listen and thus manages to give the right word at the right time.

If we can't listen to what the other has to say, how will we be able to hear the signs of the times?

God speaks through the men and women of today, speaks through facts, everyday situations, he also speaks in the silence of his heart. To listen to God, it is necessary to strip oneself of any particular pretension and desire, to listen to the great Other. If we are not able to listen, we are not able to speak, to communicate what comes from God. We run the risk of becoming, as Pope Benedict XVI says, silent Christians, who have nothing to say to the world and the world around them.

The world needs listening and only by listening can we say correct and assertive words, without violence and without imposition.

Sr Márcia Koffermann, FMA

Source: Salesian Bulletin (Brazil)


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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