Listening a Person into Life: The Art of Being Present

Video 10

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Listening is a unique set of skills that demonstrate we understand a person’s thoughts and feelings. Reflect on the power of listening in the work of accompanying another person. 

Scripture for Reflection

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

“May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5)

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Reflection Questions 

  1. Was there a word, phrase, or idea that resonated with me? That was new to me?
  2. Sister Amata Filia, SV says that “how we speak and listen to others is essential to the health of a relationship.” In order to develop a fruitful and meaningful relationship, we must uncover the heart of the other, we must know and understand the other. Is there a moment in my life when I have felt truly heard and understood by another? How did I know the other person really heard me? How did this make me feel?
  3. Sister Amata Filia explains that “the primary work of accompaniment is listening with the ears of the heart.” What does this mean to me? When another person speaks to me, how often am I doing something else at the same time? Are there times that I stop everything I’m doing and just listen? What compels me to give my undivided attention to another?
  4. Prior to this video, would I have said I am a good listener? After learning more about the skill of listening, where can I identify room for improvement in my capacity to listen?
  5. Pope Francis, in Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), explains that accompaniment “teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other … [and] to make present the fragrance of Christ’s closeness and his personal gaze” (§169). In the presence of Jesus, take a moment to bring to mind those with whom you work or serve. Ask Jesus to help you see the sacredness of those you encounter.
  6. Sister Gianna Maria, SV says, “Demonstrating our understanding also earns us … the right to offer advice, to speak into her situation, because she trusts us. We trust those most who we know understand us.” Think of those times when someone has offered me advice or when I offered someone else advice, and it was not received well. What was it about those moments that prevented advice from being received well? What helps me to receive advice well? Why is that?
  7. Is there a fruit from my prayer that I would like to share with others? 

Discussion Questions

  1. Is there a fruit from your prayer that you would like to share with others?
  2. Sister Gianna Maria speaks about the fears of those who work with pregnant women – fears about saying the wrong thing or not knowing what to say. She also says that rather than being worried about what you say, your goodness and sincerity will shine through. How does a posture of receiving the heart of another and accompanying her (as opposed to fixing a project) allow you to let go of potential fears you may have?
  3. Cheryl Richardson, a life coach, said “people start to heal the moment they feel heard.” How do you try to demonstrate that you understand someone you’re listening to in order to truly make that person feel known and heard? Are there any new listening techniques you’re curious to try? 
  4. How is listening different from being able to repeat back word for word what another person has said?
  5. Why is it important to speak from a “you” perspective? How does this shift the conversation away from ourselves?
  6. Sister Amata Filia talks about the importance of understanding a situation from the other person’s perspective. How can we ensure that we understand what the other person has said from their perspective rather than our own?


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