Pastoral care is a ministry full of sound. Sounds can be heard in many ways, most certainly through the ears and through the heart.
My ministry in pastoral care and graphic design/marketing at Mount St Joseph, Milperra requires me to listen in many ways. No two days are the same. Each day I walk into the day with an open grateful heart. So, how does this happen, what does it sound like?…
At 5am I hear my alarm clock burst forth with its rhythmic chimes. Next, I read the scripture of the day, hearing my heart connect to God’s word, my thoughts chug forward like a kayaker padding one stroke at a time (some mornings the paddling is slower than others!). Opening my heart to Gods word gives me a focus. I make a conscious choice not to look at email or other messages on my phone. Soon, I usually hear my shoes lacing and my feet touching the pavement, I gaze at the stars and thank God for the gift of this day. I run, reflect on scripture, pray for those in need and simply listen to where my heart is being drawn. As Mary MacKillop reminds us: “Listen to the whispering of God to your own heart.” Making time to listen gives me space to re-centre and enter the day with my heart being raised to God, open and ready to Listen.
It is near impossible to describe an average day in a secondary school. For me, it’s a joy to step into the unknown. And if you try to plan too much, well, you’re kidding yourself! As I drive to school I may listen to an audiobook, podcast, music or simply have silence. Many faith traditions focus on listening and opening to God. We can follow our Christian roots back to Judaism remembering the Shema prayer (Listen here): To hear each day with vulnerability, truly listening with courage to God in our lives today. We see instruction to listen and how to live faith in Deut 6:4-9 in a form of law on the heart.
My key soon unlocks my office door, click, my eyes adjust to the light, my computer boots up, emails chime through. Soon, I hear the hot water hit my cup, I usually chat with a staff member or two as we paddle through the early morning. Soon, “good morning” streams in my ears while I stand outside greeting our students and staff. I’m conscious to remind my heart to hear the sound of courage and kindness. Sometimes a conversation follows, I might hear the sound of teenage girl chatter, or feel my heart smile for all the beautiful faces walking through our school gate.
Walking the halls between meetings, popping in on classes, ………
Jane Maisey rsj
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