A Catholic Monthly Magazine


by Anne Kerrigan

“The value of consistent prayer is not that God will hear us, but that we will hear Him.” William McGill

“I call on you my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” Psalm 17:6

As one reads scripture, it is clear that there are many references to hearing and listening. I really began to internalise that concept of hearing and listening when my husband began to lose his hearing. The hearing aids are wonderful, when he remembers to use them! It is when I begin to hear the usual phrases which indicate a hearing loss that clue me in to the fact that he is not using them. 

 “What? What did you say? Say again.” 

Then I have to remind him to use the hearing aids. There are times when I ask him if he has the hearing aids in his ears, and he is not sure! He just checks his ears! We sometimes even have a laugh at that uncertainty. There are so many issues in the golden years which need to be addressed that hearing aids are often on the bottom of the list. I realise that they should be more at the top of the list because communication is  essential, but such is the reality of our present situation. The doctor’s and dentist’s appointments, physical therapy, organising and ordering the daily pills which keep us going, and then paying bills on time are only a few of the demands on our time. Not to mention the fact that we are now much slower performing these tasks! 

Actually, I am very grateful for the golden years, but I am still in the learning mode when it comes to this hearing problem. The issue here is that the hearing aids do not always work as advertised. My husband has been tested and retested, and the hearing aids adjusted as needed but, truth be told, hearing aids do not always replicate good hearing. On occasion, they are not sitting in the ear properly or the batteries need to be replaced. Often, he just forgets to put them in his ear! Therefore, I must try to ascertain when my husband needs some help along the way with this hearing situation. Even though I find myself getting rather easily frustrated at my husband’s lack of response to my conversation, I have learned a few tricks along the way. I must speak directly to him, face him, and speak clearly and slowly. My training as a lector helps me to remember to enunciate clearly to make it easier for him to understand me. We bumble along, trying the best we can to deal with the situation.

As I reflect on our personal situation with this hearing topic which comprises some serious listening skills, I wonder if this is how the Lord feels when trying to interact with me. On occasion, does He want to bop me on the head to make me listen, as I often feel like doing to my husband? Do I not hear God’s many attempts to make me listen to Him? Are my spiritual hearing aids in place so that communication can happen? Do I need the batteries replaced? Do I have to check my ears again? 

Am I saying, “What? Huh? Say again?”

I can actually imagine God getting frustrated with my lack of response to His efforts to communicate with me. (If God can get frustrated!) All of a sudden, the analogy became so clear to me. Just as my husband sometimes can’t hear, I can’t hear the Lord speaking to me. My husband is patient and kind as he deals with his hearing limitation, but I am also the one who often does not hear, does not respond. I realise that I am also challenged to listen more deeply, both to my husband and to the Lord. That realisation was a graced moment.

I find it incredible that I have learned such a valuable lesson, gained so much insight, just due to reflection on a simple thing like hearing aids! There are so many lessons here for me. I have ears, help me to listen!

Lord, help me to pray consistently, and to be silent on occasion, so that I will hear both you and my loving husband! Please let my spiritual hearing aids always be in place.

Scripture reminds us, “He who has ears, let him hear.”

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