October 11, 2022, 7:00 AM

Franciscan Fractals:

     “Itching Ears”

For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. As for you, always be sober. 2 Timothy 3:3-5

For St. Francis, nature was his “cell phone.” His ears were filled with the sounds of the weather including the wind, rain, thunder; the call of wild animals; the chirps of crickets; the crackle of sticks in a fire; and even the sound of soup boiling in a pot. He did not need a cell phone to connect to the voice of God. God was talking to him all the time and everywhere.

Many of us are used to seeing people’s ears – large ones, small ones, twisted ones, hairy ones, and at times, even waxy ones. Ears seemed to have disappeared over the last decade. They have been replaced by square boxes called cell phones. Fingers no longer find their way into ears to scratch an “itchiness.”

The emergence of cell phones revealed another hidden “itchiness,” one that has plagued humans incessantly for ages. It’s an “itchiness” that calls us to escape reality and go “somewhere else.” It calls to us as a drug cries out to an addict. Cell phones are now the common vehicle to scratch the human core of “itchiness.”

Messenger, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other apps now allow us to escape from reality into a fantasy world that offers statements that seem like certainty from obscure sources. Before long, you and I are living in a world of myth instead of truth. Along with the chatter of the cell phone, the noise of nature has waned with its own truthful and meditative sobriety.

There is a large difference between listening to the voice of God and the voices of those who believe themselves to be divine experts in this world. God’s voice lies beyond political rhetoric, conspiracy theories, new age wisdom, and thrill-seeking activities that keep a person up all night. The voice of God calms you. It opens your heart to service, and it allows you to see the world truthfully as an ongoing act of God’s love.

If you find yourself anxious, depressed, lonely, or irritated, try using your cell phone LESS rather than more. Seeking resolution through gathering more information online only sabotages the mind. It allows false prophets to enter your soul through your ears – ears that were created by God to participate in the Good News of God’s love.

Remember, resolution to the ‘itchiness” of the soul is not found in seeking more answers on the other end of the phone line. In the quietness of nature, we find a constant connection to the love of God and an ensuing calmness as witnessed by St. Francis.

If quietness itself seems to provoke an uncomfortableness, remember that this may be part of God’s transformational and healing power. On the other side of any discomfort is a calm and quiet God who continues to embrace you in love. St. Francis found this God in nature.

Running back to the cell phone may really be running from God.

Peace and blessings,

Fr. John


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