‘The Lost Art of Listening’ Focus of Theology on Tap Session

Yamilette Ayala, right, talks with another young adult before the program. (Photos by Tami Quigley)

By TAMI QUIGLEY Staff writer

In a world of constant noise and distractions, it can be challenging to stop and listen, even if we are listening for the voice of God.

With this in mind, “The Lost Art of Listening” was the focal point of the June 24 Theology on Tap gathering at Hops at the Paddock, Allentown.

“The more we relate, the more fully human we are – the more like God we are, the more divine we are,” said presenter Augustinian (OSA) Father Arthur Purcaro, vice president of mission and ministry at Villanova University, Philadelphia.

Father Purcaro discussed how young adults can slow down and listen for God’s gentle inspiration while discerning a path in life.

“If I live in isolation, ignore the needs of others, I’m less like God,” said Father Purcaro. “Dialogue makes me more like God.”

He said communion with one another and communication depend on how we treat one another. “We all need one another,” Father Purcaro said.

Father Purcaro said communication depends on our attitude toward one another. “If we treat someone as if they are worthless, that diminishes them,” he said.

“I discover God in me and I discover God in you. We discover more by sharing more.

“We’re all searching and sharing our experiences of God.

“I bring to you my understanding of God, and as a community, I try to listen.”

Father Purcaro said the Church is not just priests. “We even pray for the Pope.”

“To think I have the whole truth, I don’t need you, is wrong and lacks the humility that is God,” he said.

“To allow myself to be enriched by you, I have to listen to you.”

Father Purcaro said Jesus came that we might be one – that’s the importance of sharing. Discovering truth is what happens when we listen.

He cautioned that much talk is not dialogue, but trying to convince rather than comprehend.

“Jesus welcomed people into the community and walked with them,” Father Purcaro said. “When we take people as they are, where they are, that’s trying to listen – to compose, not impose, ideas. Dialogue is listening, not just declaring.”
Father Purcaro said relationships make us more like Christ.

He said the Church feels that part of its essence is to listen. “Listening is much more than simply silence. It’s actively trying to understand a person’s point of view.”

Father Purcaro said Vatican II brought the Church into the modern world.

Ecumenism, Father Purcaro said, is things we do together, like feeding the hungry.

“Actively listen, pause and try to hear what they’re saying,” he said.

Father Purcaro said Blessed Pope Paul VI’s encyclical “Ecclesiam Suam” (His Church), issued Aug. 6, 1964, identified the Church with the Body of Christ. In it, “The Church is called to dialogue,” Father Purcaro said.

“We need to search together and admit our mistakes. We want the Church to be perfect, but it’s not. The challenge is to be the people of God.

“All of us are called to proclaim the Gospel and help people discern God in our lives.”

Father Purcaro encouraged the young adults to continue to grow in their faith, such as through programs in their parish or Diocese.

“We are called to be followers of Christ. Go to the source, the Gospel. The Church is about life.”

Theology on Tap is a monthly series sponsored by the Diocesan Office of Youth, Young Adult and Family Ministry (OYYAFM) for young adults ages 21 to 35, single or married, in a casual setting where they can grow in the faith and share community with one another.

The next Theology on Tap, “The Five Keys to Freedom” presented by Meghan Cokeley, director of the New Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, will be Monday, July 15 at 7 p.m. at Hops at the Paddock.

Theology on Tap events are free. Food and beverages can be ordered from the menu. For more information, click here or email Alexa Smith at [email protected].