Ask yourself as you read this blog, “Am I listening, as most people do, in order to confirm what you already think?” Observe your reactions as you read. You’ll frequently be startled or shocked or scandalized or irritated or annoyed or frustrated. Or you’ll be saying, “Great!” But are you listening for what will confirm what you already think? Or are you listening in order to discover something new? That is important. It is difficult for sleeping people. Jesus proclaimed the good news yet he was rejected. Not because it wasn’t good, but because it was new. We hate the new, and the sooner we face up to that fact, the better. We don’t want new things, particularly when they’re disturbing, particularly when they involve change. Most particularly, if they involve saying, “I was wrong.”

I remember meeting an 87-year-old Jesuit who attended a workshop I’d given. “I should have heard you speak sixty years ago,” he said. “You know something. I’ve been wrong all my life.” God, to listen to that! It’s like beholding one of the wonders of the world. That, dear reader, is faith! An openness to the truth, no matter what the consequences, no matter where it leads you and when you don’t even know where it’s going to lead you. That’s faith—notbelief—but faith. Your beliefs give you a lot of security, but faith is insecurity. You don’t know. You’re ready to follow and you’re open, you’re wide open! You’re ready to listen. And, mind you, being open does not mean being gullible. It doesn’t mean swallowing whatever the speaker is saying. Oh no. You’ve got to challenge everything I’m saying. But challenge it from an attitude of openness, not from an attitude of stubbornness.