The Rule of Benedict begins with a phrase that condenses how we Benedictine folk approach prayer, God, and each other... "Obsculta, o fili, praecepta magistri, et inclina aurem cordis tui" ... "Listen carefully, my child, to the master's instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart." This includes listening to my dreams like Joseph in the Gospel for this 4th Sunday of Advent; "an angel of God appeared to him in a dream...When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him."
Hearing what others have to say is simply not enough. Listening with the ear of my heart calls me to set aside my own preconceptions and try to understand God's call in the wisdom that another is sharing with me. I should be open to this listening not only to the prioress or superiors, but also listening to my sisters, family, coworkers, and students; there is no telling from where God's wisdom might come to me if I'm open to it.
My first year in community I learned a lot from one of the most unassuming of folk. I was in a funk and unsure of why I was staying and felt that all my choices were being taken or that maybe I had left all my choices at the door. Then one very wise junior sister cornered me and shared her wisdom, "There are always choices, there are always decisions that we can make...it starts with one decision, do you stay or do you go?" I will be forever grateful that I was able to hear her with the ear of my heart. Since then I've often brought myself a little guidance when in a confused funk by using her words, do I stay or do I go?
You never know who your wisdom will touch or what effect it will have on those who are listening.