I woke naturally this morning rather than to the sound of my alarm – or any sound. As is often true here, there was silence throughout the house. Yesterday afternoon at one point I paused from the work I was doing, having become conscious that the silence around me was so profound it could have been characterized as “deafening.” That is not unusual if each of the three inhabitants of this house is engaged in quiet activity but I am always grateful for the recognition of the gift as there is so much noise in most quarters these days. I think the snow muffles sound too – and yes, it is still snowing although it seems the end is in sight by the end of the day.
This enforced hiatus because of the snowstorm has been helpful in many ways, not the least of which has been the ability to focus on study and preparation for presentations happening over the next several days. The gospel this morning (MT 11: 11-15) speaks of John the Baptist, the one who spent his time preparing for and then calling people to recognition of Jesus as Messiah. The passage ended with the often-repeated line throughout Scripture: “Whoever has ears ought to hear!” How did John the Baptist know that Jesus was ready to begin his ministry so that his own ministry would take on a new importance? In addition to listening to the buzz around Galilee about Jesus, John must’ve done a lot of listening with his “inner ear” to be ready.
Yesterday I spoke about music and am again reminded of what a gift it is to be able to hear. Today I will need to focus more on my inner hearing – the prompting of the Spirit – which will help me to tie up loose ends and make final decisions about the retreat that begins tomorrow evening. I just read yesterday a line that said, “You can’t hear if you don’t listen.” And that, it seems, whether inside or out, is the key to it all.