Be Opened

healing of the man who was deaf - Markusmaler und Gehilfe, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

This story is inspired by Mark 7:31–37.

The first words I ever heard were, “Be opened.”

On the surface, those words seemed obvious. However, they unleashed an internal deluge of discovery.

I was grateful that Jesus drew me apart from the crowd’s prying eyes. As he led me by my elbow, my breath shortened in eager anticipation. I just knew I would be healed! But I had no idea how deeply that healing would reach.

My mind was opened, not just my ears. I understood deeper meanings in the angry tone of voice in one person and the gentle strains from another. Tones communicate so much. What kinds of tones would I choose when I spoke?

I recognized listening as a powerful gift. Now I had more information than just reading faces and gestures. I could hear a need to be heard. I knew I didn’t have to rush to speak.

Jesus could have used other words. He might have said, “Your sins are forgiven,” or he could have used no words at all. Jesus knew my heart and what I’d prayed for many years. I wanted to be opened, like a scroll unrolled with good news inside. I wanted to be open to new possibilities and new ways of being.

Jesus didn’t have to ask me what I wanted; he saw my desire in my eyes and my parted lips, dry with longing. I didn’t realize the extent of what I was asking. Like a nut whose soft, delicious center needs to be pulled out of a hard shell, I needed Jesus to open me.

I’m now able to “hear” miracles all around me. I hear a call to compassion. I hear a God-given invitation to listen to other people’s spoken and unspoken burdens. And I am invited to heal in my way.

I prayed for years for release from my impediments. I focused on my shortcomings, not my gifts of sight and touch. I saw people convulsing with laughter and communicated joy with my eyes. I touched the shoulder of someone heaving with tears. I realize now that I undervalued those gifts.

What did Jesus mean when he said, “Be opened”? More than hearing noises and chatter.

Jesus opened a space where I could be hurt and forgive. Jesus opened me to share the good news that God loves people like me, who are imperfect and in need of growth—which describes all of us.

I like to sit in silence and remember Jesus touching me, touching my ears. I want to offer a similar touch to others who need to experience the freedom I did. So many hide and hold back.

I also didn’t expect to miss silence. Before I could speak, God was so near. I now open up quiet spaces for myself and others. Sometimes we all need to hear: “Can we just sit here quietly for a few moments?” More noisy words are not needed.

During the silent times I cherish in my daily routine, I hear the often nonverbal voice of God.

If you were truly to hear Jesus, what would be opened to you today?

Image: Author unknown, (Markusmaler und Gehilfe), public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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Loretta Pehanich
Loretta Pehanich is a Catholic freelance writer and the author of 2022: A Book of Grace-Filled Days, Women in Conversation: Stand Up!, and Fleeting Moments: Praying When You Are Too Busy. A spiritual director since 2012, Loretta is trained in giving the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Her involvement in ministry and parish life includes 20 years in small faith-sharing groups and Christian Life Community. Loretta gives retreats and presentations on prayer and women’s spirituality and is commissioned as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. She and her husband Steve have four children and 10 grandchildren.


  1. Thank you Loretta. Such a warm and inspiring reflection. It speaks to me of our God who wants to have a personal relationship with each one of us and just asks us to respond using the gifts we’ve been given unique to us.

  2. I loved this reflection and have read it several times. I gain something new each time I read it. It is something to keep and reread as I have a new insight each time. Thank you so much, Loretta.

  3. Once again, Loretta, the Lord spoke to my heart through your invitation to reflect more deeply. When you wrote, “I hear a call to compassion,” I knew you were speaking to me.
    Recently I’ve been asking the Lord to be opened to compassion rather than to judgment. What I notice is that compassion often invites me to action and leaning in, while judgment leads to inaction and even withdrawal. Compassion frequently moves both parties toward healing, while judgment most certainly does not…
    And so I pray, Lord, open me to compassion.

  4. Such a beautiful and profound article. Thank you. An inspiring reflection to start Advent by waiting and hoping with an open, grateful heart. I am on an IV infusion of meds from now until end of Dec. to heal a difficult infection and prevent surgery. Also, ignites grateful memories of past and present gifts we can overlook. Cheers!

  5. Thank you Loretta for this imaginative piece. My own reflection made me see that I get so scared and fearful sometimes when I am “opened”. In my own life now with trying to find a new job and a new place to live and trying to date, I feel very vulnerable, and wonder, will I be okay? Will I be safe? Will I be happy? But maybe most importantly, will I be loved? Will God really love me and take care of me? Hard questions, and no easy answers. But today I try to believe and ask for God’s guidance.

  6. What a wonderful article. Full of new insights from the prospectives of the receiver of Jesus’ healing miracle. I never would have imagined what is was like for the “deaf” man without your view on this. Thank you for opening my mind to another’s view of a gift and his loss of his prior state of being.


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