Synod on God's Word Considers God's Listening

Filipino Bishop Suggests 3 Ways to Hear Better

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 10, 2008 ( The synod fathers are not only reflecting on how to hear the Word of God, but also on how God listens.

Bishop Luis Tagle of Imus, Philippines, dedicated his address Tuesday to a reflection on how God listens, particularly to the poorest and most fragile. His speech struck a chord at the synod, having later been cited by various synod fathers and by the first fraternal delegate to address the assembly.

«Listening is a serious matter,» he said, according to the summary of his address provided by the Vatican. «The Church must form hearers of the Word. But listening is not transmitted only by teaching but more by a milieu of listening.»

Bishop Tagle proposed three approaches for deepening the listening capacity.

«Our concern is listening in faith. Faith is a gift of the Spirit, yet it also is an exercise of human freedom,» the summary said. «Listening in faith means opening one’s heart to God’s Word, allowing it to penetrate and transform us, and practicing it. It is equivalent to obedience in faith.»

The prelate said events in the world show «tragic effects» of a lack of listening. «People are trapped in a milieu of monologues, inattentiveness, noise, intolerance and self-absorption. The Church can provide a milieu of dialogue, respect, mutuality and self-transcendence,» he said.

Finally, Bishop Tagle suggested, «God speaks and the Church, as servant lends its voice to the Word. But God does not only speak. God also listens especially to the just, widows, orphans, persecuted and the poor who have no voice.»

«The Church,» the bishop concluded, «must learn to listen the way God listens and must lend its voice to the voiceless.»

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