Today the Church celebrates the birth of John the Baptist. At Mass this morning the homily was very interesting, giving both intellectual knowledge and spiritual guidance. I'd like to discuss a few here. First, the Church only celebrates the birth of three people, Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist. I'd never realized that before today. All of the other days we remember saints it is on the day of their death or other meaningful date, not their birthday. What struck me and has stayed with me all day is though is the spiritual comment, "a prophet listens before speaking." John the Baptist listened from the womb, when we read "For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy." (Luke 1:44) He prepared himself for public ministry by living in the desert, praying and fasting. Even when he was imprisoned, he sent his followers to go and ask of Jesus, "When John heard in prison of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him with this question, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?"" (Mt 11:4) And then listened to the response.
If I think of all the great saints I know that they listened before they went out did God's work. In order to do his work I must learn to listen more to his words. This is why going to Mass as often as I can is so necessary. Thankfully, I am able to attend almost every day. And now that it is summer and he is not teaching, my husband comes as well, which is a blessing.
At Mass I listen to God's word, the homily, and spend a few minutes in quiet listening for what God wants me to hear. Some days I hear something profound, like today. Other days, a reminder to be his hands, his heart in a broken world; to serve with joy; or to be still. Some days, I can't stop the inner noise long enough to hear anything.
Now, though, I have a brief prayer to offer when that happens, "A prophet listens before speaking." And we are all called to be Prophets.