Year 134 - June 2022Find out more

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We cannot speak with our eyes closed

Fr. Livio Tonello, director

Listening is everything: it means to be aware of what is happening around us every day. Listening is much more important than hearing because our senses are constantly stimulated by messages. Thanks God the conscious and the unconscious always work together to select the information and to manage them. This sometimes happens when we listen to a boring person who keeps on repeating the same things: his words slip away quickly.

Faith too comes by listening (fides ex auditus as saint Paul wrote in the letter to Romans (10-17), faith comes by listening to God’s word and by experiencing it and by answering to it. The feast of Saint Anthony (celebrated on 13th June) to whom we renew our devotion, offers food for thoughts. In his life there was always a deep bond between words and listening. We remember him as a great predicator able to transform the biblical narrations into persuasive exhortations thanks to his spirituality and profound knowledge of the Bible.

His greatness consists in the strength of his word that did not fear - the arrogance and the pride of the powerful. Where did his capacity to actualise God’s word come from? Certainly from his ability to listen to others in their daily life. He was able to listen to the shouts of the poor, of the victims of vengeances and injustices and he was always ready to help them. Nowadays too one needs intelligence to understand the world around us in such a manner.

Good intentions and what is in theory said are not enough. There are some people who have discussions while sitting comfortably in their offices without knowing what the problems really are. On the other side there are wonderful heroes of charity who serve the poorest: for example my thoughts go to mother Therese in the slums of Calcutta or to father Alex Zanotelli in the slums of Korogocho in Nairobi, just to mention the most known. These choices of life are trustable words.

We can pronounce relevant words only by sharing other people’s lives and their vicissitudes; we can act in truth only by listening to the problems of the world. The hours spent holding the hand of a sick person are a gesture of profound humanity. How many things have changed by putting ourselves at the service of the poor, by washing their feet and by loving them not with words but with deeds. Our concrete help will be more effective if we listen to the narration of their lives. We must open our eyes and our ears in order to open our hearts.