Perhaps it is significant that our English word for ‘obedience’ is derived from two Latin words -ob and audire- which mean to ‘listen keenly’. Listening has three meanings:
The first is to hear; the second is like the meaning of the French ‘connaitre’ – to understand; and the third is the command to pay attention. In the religious life, obedience is listening.
Another way of understanding what we might describe as this ‘listening obedience’ that I have found helpful, is by means of focusing on the words ‘attention’, ‘absorption’ and ‘action’. Attention starts the process of opening our ears.