There are certain routine sounds in our lives that call us into action simply by reflex. The morning alarm clock jolts us out of bed and into our morning routine. The ring tone on our phone beckons us to drop what we’re doing and respond to the person seeking us out on the line. The familiar beeping of a microwave leaves our taste buds anticipating another delicious meal. Familiar sounds call us into familiar actions.
So what then, of the quieter sounds in our lives that too often get drowned out by the well-practiced symphony of our routine? In a guided audio Examen shared here, the listener is invited during the preparatory phase of the prayer to “Gently listen to all the sounds around you; try to capture each one.” What a fantastic and profound invitation! We are invited to be still and listen for the sounds we’ve been too busy or too distracted to hear through the day. In the profound but fleeting pauses between the movements of the symphony of our lives, we are invited to listen to God’s voice hidden behind the fanfare.
We’re invited then to take one step further. Just as those routine sounds call us into action, we are invited to “capture each one” of those subtle sounds quietly playing in the background of our day. Capture. Not just to observe, not to meditate on it, but to actively chase and seize it! “Capture” is just the sort of militaristic word St. Ignatius would love. It’s very much in keeping with his vision of contemplatives in action. If we but take the time to enter into the stillness and listen to the more subtle voice of God whispering in the quiet moments, we can capture an opportunity to be contemplatives in action. We must seize that moment, for soon the Conductor will start the next movement in the symphony.
When the symphony of your day comes to a pause, what will capture your attention and call you into action?