Wednesday of Holy Week
The readings for the day can be found here.
Thank you for your interest and participation in this Lenten web site of reflections, and our various University activities throughout this holy season.
I especially thank all of the students, faculty and staff who have offered their own personal and prayerful reflections for this Lenten website. These reflections and all of our prayers during Lent help our entire SLU community, encouraging us all to find God in our many people, activities, services and programs–in all things, here at our University.
May God be with each of you and with all of us as we celebrate Good Friday and Easter, and may you continue to find new paths to God, every day.
In Chapter 50, Isaiah tells us, “The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.” More importantly, Isaiah goes on to say, “Morning after morning He opens my ear that I may hear; And I have not rebelled, have not turned back.”
I am always struck by this passage because it tells us what we all must do: open our ears and hear. That passage always reminds me also to listen with my heart and my mind; to be present; to be attentive. Many people think that strong leadership means grabbing the closest bullhorn and sounding off. But in my nearly 25 years at Saint Louis University, I’ve learned that being in charge is less about shouting my views from the rafters, and more that a wise leader learns from, and listens to, others. I believe it is necessary for all of us to hear each other, to respect each other, and to remember that we have no idea what it feels like to walk in another person’s shoes.
Even though we live in our individual and personal experience, we also share community, and knowing God, really knowing God, comes most often when I connect with others: sharing time, working with people, praying with others. Really knowing God comes when together we celebrate milestones and enjoy victories. Really knowing God and even comes when we share and shoulder the burdens while navigating rough waters.
Still, I do not simply dive into troubled tides or offer an open or welcoming hand without taking time to be still. As a Jesuit, I pray the Ignatian Examen each evening. In that time, I sit quietly by myself to review the events of the day: what went well, what still needs work? Where did I find my best self and where did I find myself wanting? Through that prayer and others, I find my grounding and get my bearings as I work each day; I seek His guidance by quietly listening.
Isaiah tells us that morning after morning He opens my ears to listen. Each morning before I encounter anyone else, I try to take some time to be still, to hear God speak to me, so that I might approach the day a little better prepared for whatever comes. God is there to offer that quiet guidance, that needed strength. All I need to do is listen.
I’m convinced that if we each listen carefully, not just during Lent, but every day, we will discover that God provides what Isaiah calls a well-trained tongue.
After we listen, we pray, using our voices in carefully measured, thoughtful moments to move the conversation forward, to change the tide of the times, to sway the stubborn and the unassailable, the unconvinced. And suddenly, we have conversation where we may not have had before. We have concern and compassion where there was once conflict and combat. We discover that we are not one, but instead one of many.
And that is why we must listen to be heard.