“Open the ear of your heart! Let us listen with awakened ears” (St. Benedict).

It is a great spiritual art to know how to really listen, to listen attentively, as St. Benedict recommends to his monks. We are well aware of the innumerable voices, both from within and without, that seek our attention every day.

Cardinal Sarah even speaks of a “dictatorship of noise” that surrounds us and tries to make silence impossible, which helps us to turn more easily to our Father and to listen attentively to Him.

What a contrast with the advice of St. Benedict, who exhorts us to direct our inner attention to God! The heart must incline to that voice which alone is capable of giving life. It must therefore be awakened to love, sharpening its inner ear so that it always seeks to hear the voice of the Father.

“Morning by morning [the Lord] wakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.

The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I turned not backward” (Is 50:4b-5).

It is obvious that this is only possible through love, because love awakens us like a kiss in our inmost being and orients us to the Lord. Then the many voices around us become insignificant. The inner voices continue to disturb us, but their ability to distract us is weakened. Our spirit has awakened; the sleepiness and laziness begin to give way.

But this is not only the work of the Lord; we are called to cooperate by reserving time to be alone with Him, taking care not to waste it on unimportant things. If we want our ears to be awakened, we must put nothing before the Lord.