Excerpts from Fr. John’s article in the August 5, 2017 Bulletin:
It was also on that Mountain of Transfiguration that God says about Jesus: “This is my Beloved Son! Listen to him.” Every day Orthodox Jews say the Shema; “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one,” taken from Deuteronomy 6:4. The emphasis is on hearing God. The Rule of St. Benedict, which has guided western monasticism for more than 1450 years, begins with the word “listen”: “Listen, O my son, to the master’s instructions, and incline the ear of your heart…” One of my favorite commentaries on the Rule of St. Benedict is by Esther de Waal, Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict. She notes:
“The very first word of the Rule is ‘listen.’ From the start the disciple’s goal is to hear keenly and sensitively that Word of God which is not only message but event and encounter. This is the start of a life-long process of learning, and the whole of the monastery is set out as a school of the Lord’s service, a place and a structure to encourage the dialogue of master and disciple, in which the ability to listen is fundamental.”
How do we listen to Jesus? God commands it, so how is it done 2000 years after he was born and lived among us? First, his words and teaching are recorded in Scripture. We need to study the Scripture, not just for information but to know the thoughts and heart of Jesus. There is a prayerful way of reading Scripture where we listen for the voice of God to speak in our hearts. St. Jerome, an early Church Scripture scholar, famously said: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”
We also hear Christ speak to in the Liturgy of the Word in the Mass, as well as other sacramental celebrations. As the Catechism teaches: “Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations…He is present in his word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church.” (CCC#1088)
The way we most experience God is in prayer, both liturgical and alone; we encounter God and receive his vision and are lifted up by his Presence. The mountain reminds us that we need to take time to go up the mountain to pray. It leads to transformation.
Download the full article: Listen to Him