Tag Archives: listening

‘Wound’ perils of listening to other voices

During my childhood, I learned to tune out God’s voice in my conscience when I justified my sins. I thought I was living in freedom by making my own choices, but without realizing it, I was quickly becoming a slave to my human passions and to the evil forces lurking behind those seductions. At the time, I did not realize I was listening to and obeying other vices that were in opposition to God. It started when I listened to the voice of temptation through my brother and friend, but eventually those tempting voices emerged from within my own mind and heart. I discovered how quickly we can be seduced by our own passions, the seductions of the world, and by the deceiving voice of the father of lies.

These other voices are constantly presenting before us false illusions of distorted love and a counterfeit happiness which will never satisfy our deepest longings for genuine love.

 These seducing voices gradually pull us out of communion with God, often imperceptibly. We may still be going through the motions of religious worship with our mouths, but our hearts have drifted away from genuine intimacy with God (cf. Mark 7:6). We become more like the Pharisees, the ones Jesus refers to as hypocrites (the word literally means “actors on a stage”). Like the Pharisees, we may find ourselves projecting our guilt and shame onto others, judging them mercilessly for their sins and condemning them for not measuring up to our self-righteous standards. Inevitably, the measure we use to judge and condemn others comes back like a boomerang to become our judge. We end up condemning ourselves (cf. Luke 6:37-38). Self-condemnation in turn increases our feelings of shame and unworthiness.

In the long run, listening to these deceiving voices only serves to increase our buried guilt and shame, resulting in a more intense spiritual suffering. As our sins accumulate, our minds become darkened to God’s truth. Our hardened hearts then are unresponsive to His love. We slowly lose our God-given capacity for spiritual and emotional intimacy and instead become addicted to sensual pleasures in our search of counterfeit happiness. Over time, the seven deadly sins become our replacement for authentic joy. We worship created things because we have lost the capacity to enjoy intimacy with our Father and Creator.

Excerpt by Dr. Bob Schuchts, from his new book Real Suffering: Finding Hope & Healing in the Trials of Life (Charlotte, North Carolina: Saint Benedict Press, 2018), pp. 136-138.

DR. BOB SCHUCHTS is founder of the John Paul II Healing Center in Tallahassee, FL, and is a nationally renowned speaker, presenter, and writer. He is recently retired from his private practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist, now devoting his time to writing and healing conferences.

Genuine, receptive listening opens people’s hearts

The month of February is dedicated to love, no matter how dreary the weather may be in some places. Annually honoring Saint Valentine’s Day reminds couples to take their relationships seriously. A romantic dinner, kind gestures, love letters, and gifts express one’s love for another. But what couples really crave, in my opinion, is someone who will listen. Not just sit there and say, “yes dear,” but truly listen — with all one’s heart, mind, and soul.

Listening is loving. It’s a lost art today. Even with the most advanced communications technology, we don’t know how to listen as people made in God’s image and likeness.

This month we might take note and give loved ones what they want most: a sense of being heard and loved.

People know me as the “cooking priest,” and may ask, what does listening have to do with food and cooking? Quite a lot, actually. It relates to the ability to discern what another is hungering for and trying to communicate. It’s like the unconditional love parents instinctively have in listening, hearing, and understanding what a crying child is trying to indicate. It’s the love that God has for His children when the scriptures say, “What father, if his son asks for a fish, will instead give him a serpent?” (Luke 11:11).

Let’s consider some simple lessons about listening with the heart:

We sometimes hunger for things that aren’t good for us. Our Good God, a loving listener, will sometimes respond to our requests with a revolting taste, bitter herbs of truth, or a “time out” in order to heal disordered appetites. Do we know how to communicate what we really desire?

Listening to a person isn’t just understanding words, but grasping the totality of the person’s experience. Are we courageous enough to listen without judgment?

When it comes to loving disagreeable spouses or challenging family members, it might require us to ask ourselves, “What is God trying to say to me when I speak to this person who is tough to tolerate?” Do we know the “lesson” God is teaching in such difficult encounters?

Listening isn’t easy. Yet, God listens to us – and truly hears how our hearts, bodies, and souls grumble. Our job is to listen as God does, which requires discernment, faith, and every Christian virtue. This month, give the great gift that God gives – learn to listen to each other, and in so doing, love one another.

LEO PATALINGHUG IV DEI, priest, author, speaker, TV and radio host, founder of Plating Grace and The Table Foundation. Learn more at FatherLeoFeeds.com


Coconut Curry Mussels • Serves 2-3

Fresh, edible mussels will ‘open up’ when properly cooked. Providing the right ingredients and atmosphere can likewise help people open up in healthy conversation.

1 1/2 pound of mussels, cleaned
1 Tbsp butter
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup white wine
2-3 Tbsp yellow curry powder
1 can coconut milk
1 -2 tsp of “fish sauce” (found in the international section of market)
1-2 tsp of soy sauce
2 limes (1 juiced, other cut into wedges)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili pepper (or favorite hot sauce)
2 tsp honey
1-2 Tbsp of Cilantro leaves (or parsley)

Serve with 4-6 pieces of crusty bread, or 1/4 lb. cooked angel hair pasta.

In a large pot, melt butter and sauté onions and garlic. Add wine; cook for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add yellow curry powder and mix together before adding the coconut milk, fish sauce, the juice of one lime, salt, pepper, and honey. Stir together. Carefully add mussels to pot; mix together, then cover for 2-3 minutes, or until mussels have opened. Stir all together so mussels are coated with the sauce. Plate with extra lime wedges, top with cilantro leaves, and serve with crusty bread or pasta.