In the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism, there is a rite of blessing of the ears, praying that the ears of the newly baptized child will be touched by the Lord to receive God’s word.

Listening is one of the most important behaviors that we learn in life. In every aspect of life we need to learn to listen: there is not one relationship in which we do not need to listen. Many times, we want to be heard, and rightly so, but also we need to be open to hear, to listen to others, to what that they have to say, to the things they like, to their needs.

In our relationship with God, it should be the same; in our prayer, we should not only ask for what we need or want. We should also listen to what God says to each one of us. It is in listening that we can discover God’s plan for us and, also, more about ourselves; in listening, as difficult as it may be, we are able to become more conscious of our own selves. How many times have we heard from friends something unpleasant about ourselves, even though we know it is true? Perhaps, in that moment, we are disconcerted or saddened by what we hear; upon reflection, though, we come to understand and realize the truth in what has been said.

Listening is the key to keeping the Lord’s commandments. In the Old Testament accounts of the giving of the commandments, God’s first request of the people is to listen: “Hear, O Israel. . .

Listening is the beginning of faith. Saint Paul reminds us… And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (Rm 10:14).

Listening also helps us to learn about the people around us. One of the most terrible experiences we can have while talking with others is the realization that they are not listening, that they are distracted, that they are not that interested in what we have to say. Sometimes, this mirrors our behavior with God.

Each of us should try to hear God, and to hear more and more about God. Would you ever be tired of, or not interested in listening to, a person you love? Or would you ever be exhausted listening to that person? When you find a wise person, do you ever weary of learning from that person? Knowing the gift of God that Jesus is and knowing God Himself, let us devote more time and energy in listening to the Lord and learning about Him.

I encourage you to open your ears to listen to the word of God, to open your hearts to God’s plan of salvation, a plan that God may whisper to us in the silence of our prayer.