Let us first look at the Holy Family for inspirations. While the Holy Family may seem like an unreachable ideal for some, the circumstances faced by the Holy Family in life are more than relatable. Life got real very quickly for the Holy Family: Joseph had to leave his home country with his young family in order to avoid persecution; their only child was lost for three days during a family trip, and talked back at them upon being found. While many things can be distilled from these events, let us focus on one: Listening. Joseph listened to the voice of God through the angel and fled to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-14); Mary listened to Jesus after three distressing days of seeking but not finding (Luke 2:51b). After the finding, Jesus returned to Nazareth with his parents and listened to them by being obedient (Luke 2:51a).
Listening needs to be understood in two ways: Listening to God through our prayers, and listening to the voice of God in others. Listening is truly an art, as we can have ears but not hear the voice of God (Mark 8:18). Even when we hear, we may not listen. In this day and age, we are easily distracted by many things, notably technology. You may have already been distracted by updates from your smartphone as you read this very reflection. In order to live a life of prayer and love within the context of the family through listening to the voice of God, we need to be very intentional about our use of technology, lest it become a hindrance rather than a help.
Fr. Edmund Lo, SJ
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Canada)