Listening with the ear of the heart

56th World Day of Social Communications

This is a worthy goal for all our interpersonal relationships, and a worthy goal also for those who work in the field of communications... including our team here at the General Curia of the Society of Jesus.

“Listening with the ear of the heart” is the theme of the message that Pope Francis is directing not only to Christians but, as he usually does, to all women and men of good will. The Holy Father emphasises that for healing the wounds of the soul, the greatest need people have is to be listened to. He therefore concludes that the duty to listen is the responsibility of many persons: parents and teachers, pastors and pastoral workers, those who provide social or political services and, of course, those who work in the media.

Ignatian spirituality places much emphasis on listening. It stresses listening first of all to the Lord, who can be heard “speaking” in many ways and in all circumstances, as the theme of the Ignatian Year reminds us. Ignatian spirituality urges spiritual guides to listen carefully to the persons they counsel, helping them especially to listen to the voice of the Lord.


In speaking of the Society’s third Universal Apostolic Preference, “Accompanying young people in the creation of a hope-filled future”, Father Arturo Sosa often mentions that accompanying today’s youth effectively requires us first to listen to them. We must allow young people to express themselves and even to teach us to experience the world in a fresh new way, including through the instantaneous global communications to which their lives are attuned.

And we also urgently need to listen with our hearts to the cry of our earth, our Common Home! We need to respond, as a religious Order to the ecological emergency, and this summons comes to us both from nature itself and from the people working in various national and international organisations. Here, science encounters the heart if we only know how to listen.

In the meantime, let us all practice “listening with the ear of the heart”. Let us return to the teaching of Pope Francis, who reminds us that “Jesus calls his disciples to evaluate the quality of their listening. “Take heed then how you hear” (Lk 8:18): this is what he exhorts them to do after recounting the parable of the sower, making it understood that it is not enough simply to listen, but that it is necessary to listen well. Only those who receive the word with an “honest and good” heart and keep it faithfully bear the fruit of life and salvation (cf. Lk 8:15). It is only by paying attention to whom we listen, to what we listen, and to how we listen that we can grow in the art of communicating, the heart of which is not a theory or a technique, but the “openness of heart that makes closeness possible” (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 171).

Share this Post:
Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

Related Posts: