by unknown MMM writer undated Ireland 13.08.2022
Words like coins are good currency. But like currency they can suffer devaluation. Some words even wear thin with usage. Jargon I’d say is counterfeit currency. It goes from being shorthand to short change. The English word ‘listen’ is short changed. In fact in the Anglo-Saxon understanding of the word it means ‘to wait in suspense’, to be on the alert to ourselves and for others.
The prophet Isaiah realised this, he said, “Each morning, He wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple”. To wait in suspense with another, flows and follows from listening. It is with a receptive morning heart that we’re prompted to hear the movement of God and the needs of others.
Mother Mary Martin knew years of waiting, knew about ‘waiting in suspense’. The year 1937 marked the foundation of the Medical Missionaries of Mary, and also marked a transition for the Foundress. For the next 30 years, the Dublin born disciple had listening ears for the consolidation of her vision, the organisation and the administration of the fledgling congregation. A Sister who often accompanied Mother Mary relates her sensitivity to people. “We arranged to meet in the evening in the Marist Church in Leeson Street. I didn’t know the precise nature of Mother’s business but knew it was of a sensitive nature and that she was anxious about the outcome. As I was entering the Marist church there was a travelling woman with a few children on the steps, I gave her all money I had with me which was only a few shillings and asked her to pray for Mother Mary Martin. She gave me a quick look. ‘Do you know Mother Mary too?’ She knew Mother Mary very well and told me of the friendship and kindness Mother had shared with her.”
Pondering the story I ask myself what had Mother Mary and this travelling woman in common. They had the same lifeline – dependence on God through people. Neither could go on further on their own strength. They truly ‘waited in suspense’ for what God would send. With them the word ‘listen’ suffered no devaluation, their listening was attentive, precious in God’s sight.