Mercy Word of the Week

The Mercy Word of the Week

As we progress through the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, University Ministry offers our community a “Mercy Word of the Week” to help us focus on the themes of mercy that are already so closely aligned to our mission and heritage as an institution sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy.
The first Monday of each month will bring a brief reflection on each of the University’s Core Values as expressions of our Mercy charism. We hope these focused thoughts will lead to your own considered contemplation on mercy and its role in your life.
Listening: In this year of Mercy, how can we practice listening?
In his book, Reaching Out,  the international beloved priest and author, Henri Nouwen, describes the three movements of the soul: reaching inward to oneself, reaching outward to others, and reaching upward to God. Nouwen articulates how the three movements lead to an intertwine with one another. We can use this model in the way we listen.
First, listen to yourself. Self-reflection can include asking: What am I longing for? What joys can I thank God for? Why do I feel the way I do? Second, the more a person reckons with his or her inner life, the more space is created for others. The listener is not as distracted by internal struggle, but can truly be present with another person in joy or pain. Lastly, we can also practice listening to God. God speaks in so many ways. Could God be speaking to you through the cardinal singing in the cold outside your window? Is God the still small voice reminding you of hope? Can you hear God calling you to a life of deeper meaning and purpose?
Listening can be practiced by reflection, prayer, patience and silence. All of those activities tend to take time. They are inefficient; they don’t always yield tangible results, yet they are paramount to a life of mercy.
This season, may we reach out in mercy, be slow to speak, and quick to listen.
Amy Sytsma
Assistant Director or Resident Education