I try listening when I cannot see.
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. . .Jesus Himself, the Divine Word of God.” said our pastor.* His point was that while sometimes seeing leads to believing (as it did for Saint Thomas), normally hearing proceeds a hopeful change.*
God is a spirit and God’s normal method of communication with us is speaking. We can see the True Light, but this generally happens after our listening, our reflection, our hope gains substance through the Divine Word. Jesus speaks to us and then we know. Faith is not opposed to reason, rather, faith gives reason the assumptions that have come to listening to Divine Wisdom. Faith seeks understanding.
Mom listens and tries to speak a good word into situations.
Six years ago, the team that ended up forming The Saint Constantine School and College was on the ropes, unable to see how something like K-16 could happen. Our previous vision that brought us together in Texas had gone dark. Hope was hard to find. Mom was there, because good mothers always are there on such days. She stopped looking and started listening. What she heard was that the group gathered in our living room, not very prepossessing in appearance, had a great adventure ahead of them.
Vision is too much of one kind of data, too little of another.
Vision often gives us too much of a certain kind of data: overwhelming us and controlling our creative imaginations. Compare the data required to download a movie versus a book. Lord of the Rings is a long read, but can be downloaded in seconds compared to the Peter Jackson films. Oddly, however, the book allows more scope for the imagination.** There is more backstory in the books, but less scenic detail. We can imagine Gandalf’s appearance as we wish without a few constraints (having a beard, being old). The film leaves us with an excellent actor, but a highly constrained image. We pretty much see as the immediate director wishes us to see, while Tolkien, the creator, in his books allowed for more imaginative variety!
Mom heard what was happening under the surface of our vision.
The plates under the earth were shifting. The plan of God was not visible to the eye, but once described to the ear made sense. We were not done with God’s good idea, the inner work God was doing in us to get us ready was not visible yet! Mom heard, spoke, we listened, waited faithfully and then saw! God brought this word to flesh! He made visible what at first was only audible.
I have a clock whose gears begin to grind before it strikes. When ready, the cuckoo appears, and we can see and hear the hour strike! However, I have learned that when I can hear, though not yet see, the hour is imminent, seconds away. Hearing precedes seeing.
So it is in much of our lives: we hear “I love you” and then see what comes of this truth. We hear the job offer and then see what happens. We hear and then we see. Happy are those who hear and believe, because they will see the beloved Kingdom.
As Mom would say: “Hear the Word and see what God can do.”
*Thank you Father George.
**Anne of Green Gables loved this phrase!