As we await the date of the beginning of the Conclave in Rome, we hear of the Cardinals gathering in their daily General Congregations to discuss and listen to needs of the Church and the challenges to the Faith in our time. They listen to each other and share their thoughts over coffee and meals, in regional gatherings, and in other opportunities in order to get to know each other better. All of the Cardinals are invited to share in these days so that the Cardinal electors will be able to discern, with the Spirit's help, the best leader for the Church. The Cardinals also pray, privately and together, to listen to the word that God places on their hearts. I watched them gather with God's people the other evening at the Altar of the Chair in Saint Peter's Basilica to pray the rosary and to celebrate Evening Prayer within the context of a Eucharistic Adoration. Listening is key to what is happening in Rome these days.
In Jeremiah the prophet today we hear the Lord say: "This is what I commanded my people: Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people." The psalm (Ps 95) also tells us to listen to the word of God ... "Oh, that today you would hear his voice". This sede vacante period, this entire season of Lent is an image of what our life is to be about ... listening to the Word of God, responding to that Word, and setting our course in a way that leads us to holiness and life. As we await these days of anticipation for a new successor to Peter and for the renewed life of the resurrection at Easter, may we be wise and LISTEN TO HIS VOICE.