My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it. Luke 8:21
Jesus praises his mother for “hearing and doing the word”. In the original Greek text, the words “hearing and doing” are placed together. Mary was first presented to us as hearing and receiving the Word. “Behold, the bond slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” Lk 1:38 Hearing and doing the word is at the heart of our following Christ.
The critical question is where do we hear the Word? God speaks to us in many ways. The overwhelming beauty of nature eloquently speaks to us of the power and wisdom of its creator. “Every creature is a word of God.” Meister Eckhart “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Rom 1:20 “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made”, Ps 33:6
God’s word is especially experienced in Scripture. It is the most precious and authentic way of hearing God’s voice! “Your words were found and I ate them” Jer 15:16 We must have a big appetite when we encounter His Word. We must have a passion to digest His word by study so as to know what He is speaking to us! The SS often speaks of our hard hearts. Our hearts are hard like a rock which resists any saturation. Prayer is the great heart softener.
Prayer is essential to hear the word. At its best prayer is speaking and listening to God. It is “pondering the word” as Mary did in the Gospel. “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering (sumballō in Greek to put together) them in her heart.” Lk 2;19 Again in Lk 2:51 we find Mary His “mother treasured (diatereo to deeply and carefully keep) all these things in her heart.” The word must get into our hearts. The word brings a deep intimacy with God. “Through the word of God to the heart of God” St Gregory the Great
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.