It is Lent and God is continuing to call us closer to Him. But are we listening? That’s what the Pope wants to know. He raised the question more than once over the weekend. First, at his weekly Angelus message to thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square this past Sunday. Later that day when he celebrated Mass at a parish outside of Rome he again raised the issue of listening when he asked parishioners of Santa Maria dell’ Orazione about the duties of a Christian.
“Perhaps you will tell me; to go to Mass on Sundays; to fast and abstain during Holy Week-do these things but the first duty of a Christian is to listen to the Word of God, to listen to Jesus, because He speaks to us and He saves us with His word and with His word He also makes our faith stronger, more robust; Listen to Jesus.”
Pope Francis focused on the Gospel for this past Sunday which took us to Mount Tabor, the scene of our Lord’s Transfiguration. The Pope reminded the faithful to whom He spoke in and around Rome about how God encouraged the disciples during the Transfiguration to listen to His Son.
“We, the disciples of Jesus are called to be people who listen to His voice and take seriously His words. To listen to Jesus we must follow Him. We need to go to a place, to climb the mountain and go to a place of silence to find ourselves and better perceive the voice of the Lord.” I found Pope Francis’ messages challenging and so relevant particularly in light of a new study that just came out concerning how saturated our lives are when it comes to the media. Not only aren’t we listening all that closely to God but we aren’t paying much attention to those people who should be most important in our lives. Parents in particular, are better connected to their Smart Phones than they are to their own children.
Researchers from Boston Medical Center went undercover in 15 fast food restaurants to observe Moms and Dads during meal time. Parents in 40 of the 55 families observed were absorbed in their mobile devices according to the study. Almost a third of the parents used their devices continuously throughout the meal.
If we’re not listening to God and to our own families, how are we going to be effective disciples? In addition to the message of listening the Pope also is encouraging us to meet our brothers and sisters to help them in their daily walk. One final suggestion from Pope Francis is to carry a “little book of the Gospels” and read short passages daily. So in other words back away from those phones. No better time than this important liturgical season of Lent to listen to what God is telling us in Scripture and in prayer, and then applying those messages to help make a difference in our lives and the lives of those around us.
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