Listening Note 1


‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’

—1 Samuel 3:9


What is listening?

It is being passive.

But not everyday, run-of-the-mill passivity—not the kind achieved by man’s own will.

It is passivity that cannot be “achieved”.   Ever.   At all.   By mankind.

For it is active passivity.

Truly active. Truly passive.

But not a balance between the two. Not an evenly leveled scale, not an equal “score” of “5” for each. Listening is not a scientific or sociological accomplishment, nor is it a mere relationship between two contrarieties to be deemed healthy or valid by human means.

Listening is fullness.   A state—a becoming—a verb.   A noun—a subject—the ultimate adjective.

It is complete existence. It is pure life-giving action and it is pure passive reception—it is simultaneous conception and birthing—a total liberated consummation—to the entire degree—the maximum—and beyond.

Life and Death. Resurrection and Ascension. Glory and Praise.

It is achieved— “accomplished”— “brought into being”—by Grace—and the poverty of truly unworthy participation.


We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

(We listen because He spoke us into existence.)


You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” (John 15:16)

(We did not ask to listen, He invited us to hear.)


God always makes the first move: The Unmovable Mover.

God always utters the first sound: The Unspeakable Speaker.

He silently gestures, “grace upon grace”.

Calling for us to use freewill.

Bravely. Boldly. Beautifully.

To actively choose—to “volunteer”—to be passively crucified.

Nailed to the tree—driven into place—into pure passivity.

To Listen.


The LORD said to Samuel: I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears it ring.

—1 Samuel 3:11



—Howard Hain




3 thoughts on “Listening Note 1

  1. Berta says:

    Yes, listening is to me a dying to self. Your own thoughts and words put aside and the words of the other become part of you. Lord, let me listen to Your Word and let me become those words ! Let me be Yours, Lord, at all times. Let me reflect what I hear from You. May Your thoughts always be passed to others through me, if it is Your Holy Will.
    Thank you Howard. I’m trying to listen!


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