………… it is significant that our English word for ‘obedience’ is derived from two Latin words -ob and audire- which mean to ‘listen keenly’. As Bill Kirkpatrick observes in his book The Creativity of Listening, listening has three meanings:

The first is to hear; the second is like the meaning of the French ‘connaitre’ – to understand; and the third is the command to pay attention. In the religious life, obedi­ence is listening.

Another way of understanding what we might describe as this ‘listening obedience’ that I have found helpful, is by means of focusing on the words ‘attention’, ‘absorption’ and ‘action’. Attention starts the process of opening our ears.

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