Apostolate of the Ear

At my fraternity gathering last month, our Formation Director, Justin Carisio, OFS, spoke about a book by Pope Francis – The Name of God is Mercy. The title alone could take an entire evening to discuss.


Justin focused on just a few points from the book;  one of which was Apostolate of the Ear.  I must say, when I saw that topic, I was a little skeptical of how that would tie in. Basically, what it means is to give the gift of listening to someone who needs to be heard. And we all need to be heard.


Being called a good listener is a compliment, but one that is seldom heard any more.  We have all learned to tune each other out.  People walk by briskly on the street with their ear buds firmly in place.  Whether they are listening to music or not, having those ear buds on is an excuse not to talk to anyone and especially not to listen to anyone.


We live in a very noisy world. The TV is on while three people in the room are having conversations on three different cell phones. A man I used to work for would call me every morning to talk about what was going on in the office and what was going on with me.  And he would be checking e-mail at the same time.  He never heard what I was trying to tell him.  And it hurt.  I wasn’t worth his time or full attention.


Isn’t really listening to someone a true act of humility?  We have to shut down our own ego and problems of the moment and really concentrate on the words coming from the other person.  We give the gift of ourselves to the person who needs to be heard. How Franciscan!


Most times, people are not looking for solutions to their problems or an opinion about what has them upset. They just want someone to validate them, let them know they are valuable to us.  In our Rule, Chapter 2, #5, the first sentence is: Secular Franciscans, therefore, should seek to encounter the living and active person of Christ in their brothers and sisters,


If Christ came to you after a bad day, would you check e-mail while He spoke to you? During the month of May, let all of us work on this small but powerful gift to give to the Christ we meet every single day.  May God bless and direct our steps as we strive to follow in the footsteps of our Seraphic Father.

Much love and many blessings,



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