Advent Reflections

Divine Listening:

remembering with love & gratitude

  • © Caroline Hamilton



the Oblates & Sisters of the
Sisterhood of St. John the Divine

These Advent Reflections 
are offered
to the Glory of God,
in loving memory of,
and with deepest gratitude for
our Beloved in Christ

Mary L. (Bunny) Stewart
Oblate / SSJD

and also with 
heartfelt thanksgiving 
for the companionship
and faithful prayers 


the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine,
our extended SSJD family of 
Associates, Oblates and 
and many friends

“Grace to you and peace –
I always thank God because I hear of your love 
for all the saints and your faith in the Lord Jesus.”
Philemon 1: 3-4


As someone with a hearing impairment, I’ve learned to listen intently. It can be quite tiring, especially if people don’t annunciate. During this pandemic, I’ve realized how much I rely on lip-reading, facial cues and proximity. Social distancing has increased my awareness of just how noisy the world can be – how easy it can be to miss a crucial message.  

Have you ever heard yourself quoting someone, remembered for something they said, les bon mots, so to speak, words of wisdom? My husband’s mother who, when frustrated by her children’s inattentiveness, would quip “Are those ears painted on?” (When I had children, I finally understood what she was getting at!) There is definitely a difference between “hearing” and “listening”.

St. Benedict, a 6th century monk, formulated a rhythm of life for his community known as “The Rule”. The first word in this treasure is “Listen” and everything that follows is commentary. His community’s common life was ordered to ensure every activity, each relationship provided an opportunity to listen for God’s word anew, “with the ear of your heart,” – and to act upon it. 

These Advent musings, by SSJD Oblates and Sisters, represent les bon mots, the words of wisdom, we have stilled ourselves to listen for. God speaks to us all ways, always – in scripture, in our prayerful reading and in the experiences of our daily lives. It is our prayer that you will gift yourself with stillness this Advent, to listen deeply for God’s particular word for you. May these little embers, the lectio of our lives, provide you with some guidance in the art of listening to the needs around you and the courage to offer Christ’s message of love, joy, peace and hope to those in need of such gifts.        

– Frances Drolet Smith


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