Does Anyone Listen?

Do you ever feel like people aren’t really listening to what you have to say?  You try to present your perspective but you feel you either they weren’t listening or you must have not explained it well. 

We might do well to ask ourselves if the other person might feel the same way about us.  Do they feel like we aren’t listening to them?

This can happen between individuals, within or between small groups, and it can happen, it does happen, on a world scale. 

I’ve commented in recent articles that I wonder if anyone was really listening when the Alabama State Supreme Court said “embryos are children” (see “There is Hope in Alabama” and “There is Still Hope”).

In the debate for abortions regarding cases of rape, people will say, “rape is a terrible thing.”  They think that this justifies abortion in the cases of rape.  Do they listen to what they are saying?  Yes, rape is a terrible thing.  It should never happen.  I believe abortion is also a terrible thing that should never happen.  It seems obvious to me that two wrongs don’t make a right.  Do they listen to their own words, let alone what I say? 

They say they are pro-choice but what about my choice?  How come I can’t say no to my tax dollars being used to provide abortions?  What about the choice of a health care worker to not participate in abortions if they are pro-life?

Then we turn to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.  Does Israel listen to what the rest of the world is saying?  Many countries have called for a permanent cease fire.  Does the leadership of Israel listen to what they say themselves when they say success is to wipe out Hamas?

Then there is Russia.  Does Putin listen to other nations regarding the attacks on Ukraine?

What about discourse between political parties?  How much does each side really listen to the other side?  I am not talking about giving into the other side.  I am concerned with listening to the other side, determining the validity of their points, and doing our best to address those points while holding fast to what our faith teaches.

This is a topic I have written about before in my article “Seeking Real Dialogue.”   This article flowed from my reading of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Fratelli Tutti.   Pope Francis wrote, “Approaching, speaking, listening, looking at, coming to know and understand one another, and to find common ground: all these things are summed up in the one word “dialogue” “ (Fratelli Tutti, 198, emphasis added).

The Catholic Church is not exempt from the struggles of seeking real dialogue.  Even within the church, polarization is on the rise.  Do people within the Church listen to one another?  Here, one example is the communication between the Vatican and the Catholic bishops of Germany regarding the German Synodal Way.

Of course, the one we must need to most listen to is God.  God is the one who is all-knowing.  We must pray that we see as God sees (see 1 Samuel 16:7).  We know Jesus to be “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).  We know we can trust in Jesus because He willingly laid down his life for us (see John 15:13). 

Real dialogue is not easy.  I wish it was.

When the other, whether it be an individual, small group, or a nation does not change their position to agree with ours, we feel like they have not listened.  When it is between individuals or in small groups, we may feel personally wounded.  They may feel the same way towards us.

In some cases, people really aren’t listening.  They have their own “truth” and are sure they are right.  However, we need to realize that just because they didn’t change their position, doesn’t mean they weren’t listening.  Sometimes, they did really listen but reached a different conclusion.

We need to pray that everyone really does listen.  We pray that everyone first listens to God.  We pray for real discernment on how what God has taught us fits the present situation.  We pray that we really listen to what others have to say so that we can address their valid points.  We pray that is God’s Will we seek above all else.

I would like to end with the following prayer to know God’s Will from St. Therese of Lisieux (as found on found at

Prayer to Know God’s Will

Lord grant that I may always allow myself to be guided by You,
always follow your plans, and perfectly accomplish your holy will. 
Grant that in all things, great and small, today
and all the days of my life,
I may do whatever You may desire of me. 
Help me to respond to the slightest promptings of your grace,
so that I may be your trustworthy instrument. 
May your will be done in time and eternity,
by me, in me, and through me.  Amen.


Fr. Jeff


  1. Linda on 03/19/2024 at 6:16 am

    I do think that at times people do listen to others perspectives but are afraid to either agree or disagree. I feel the media in all its various forms has one narrative and it is imposed on us. We all need to remember that “the opinion of the media” is not necessarily the opinion held in our own heart and ask God for the strength and words to express his will.

    • Fr. Jeff on 03/19/2024 at 6:24 am

      Interesting. I had not thought about people who might listen but are afraid to agree or disagree.

      As to the media, I pray for unbiased reporting so that we can make our own decisions.


      Fr. Jeff

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