St. Gregory VII (Pope),
St. Mary Magdalene de Piazzi
Several years ago I did an internship in spiritual direction. This program required the participants to take three major workshops/conferences on spirituality outside the program. One I took was on "Listening." A couple of things I learned in this workshop is: 1.) If you do not know a person, or a person is extremely upset there is a certain way for you to respond. Example #1. Someone is very angry and says "I have never been so angry in all my life." Ordinarily, I would have been tempted to say: "I am sorry to hear this. I know exactly how you feel." The better response would have been: "You have never been so angry in all your life?" This invites the angry person to explain why s/he is so angry and explains it. Thus, providing a cathartic moment to help that person process their anger and get over it. Example #2. A person says: "This is the happiest day of my life, but I have never been so hurt." I would probably have said something like: "I am happy you are having a good day!" I probably am avoiding the "bad news" so I select only the "good news." The better response would be: "This is the happiest day of your life, but you have never been so hurt?" This avoids my making a choice in this dichotomous message and allows the speaker to explain the apparent contradiction, and allows him/her to integrate the conflict themselves.
In John’s Gospel Jesus is speaking of the future, the disciples are concerned with the present. Jesus tells the disciple He loves them. The disciples speak of their knowledge of Jesus. Jesus is speaking of his departure. The disciples are speaking of His origin with God. In other words, Jesus is preparing the disciples for His suffering, death and resurrection. But the disciples do not want to hear about it so avoid listening to Jesus’ words. Jesus is trying to tell the disciples. Time is short: in verse 25 He says: "The hour is coming." In verse 28 He says: "The hour is coming, indeed it has come!" Jesus promises the disciples that the relationship He and the Father shares, will be like the relationship He will share with his disciples. He leaves them with these words of reassurance and hope. It is important for us to listen to each other. It is every bit as important the make sure we are listening accurately to God in our life.