Listen – – – with the ear of the heart.

This comes from The Rule of St. Benedict.

Recently during in-person worship, I asked what habit you need to be more attentive to. Someone texted in, “I need to listen more. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.”

How true . . .

Listening is a part of our faith journey and truly one of the most essential practices to living a full, rich life.

Many would immediately respond, “But I’m a great listener!”

Yet, what are we listening for?

Are we listening for agreement with our already set ideas?

Are we listening with scrutiny to try to find reasons to disagree?

Are we listening simply so we can say that we did?

Or are we listening with love? Openness? Acceptance? And a willingness to be transformed?

“Listening cracks open the door to another Benedictine concept from which most of us would rather run—that of obedience. . . . Obedience comes

from the Latin, oboedire, to give ear, to harken, to listen. The Benedictine writer Esther de Waal says that obedience moves us from our “contemporary obsession with the self,” [1] and inclines us toward others. . . . . [St. Benedict] moves beyond the common understanding of the word as solely an authoritarian, top-down dynamic. He stresses instead mutual obedience, a horizontal relationship where careful listening and consideration is due to each member of the community from each member, as brothers and sisters. It is by this way of obedience, he says, that we go to God.” (Center for Action and Contemplation)

At West, we have a group (actually many groups, but today we will highlight a particular one) that is attentive to listening and obeying. I’d love you to hear one of the transformational stories of West’s Golf Group. The “Mission Money” referenced is the weekly donations they make to their “pool” so they can do something transformational in the world.

From one of our fearless leaders, Michael Liotta . . .


I wanted to share with everyone how our gifts have helped brighten the days of a sixteen-year-old girl.

Teagan Murphy was severely injured in the golf cart accident in Statesville on 6/13/2022.

Teagan, along with her best friend and her best friend’s family, were riding in a golf cart when an impaired driver ran into them. Teagan suffered many injuries. Three skull fractures, brain bleed, traumatic brain injury, and severe damage to the skin on her arms and legs from the road abrasions. Teagan will have a long hard

road to recovery, but is thankful to be alive.

On behalf of the WEST Golf Group, my wife Elizabeth and I visited the family of eight. We delivered the mission donation of three hundred thirty five dollars along with a few little gifts. Teagan is a sweet teenager with a zest for life. She was excited for the gift bag and brownies. Hugging her angel bear, she cheered about the fuzzy socks for her cold feet and loved the cold pack for her eyes. Teagan grasped

excitedly for the lip gloss and hand sanitizer conveniently attached. Beaming a beautiful smile, she said “I will bring this to physical therapy”.

Alaina, Teagan’s mom is a very spiritual person. She is very grateful for our gift and gives thanks to God for Teagan’s survival. They are a loving family and appreciate the support from our community.

Prayers are needed for this family and all involved in this tragic accident.

I am so blessed to be part of a group which gives thanks to God and actively tries to help others in their time of need.

With gratitude,


May we go through the weekend listening and obeying.