God’s ear hears the heart’s voice.

Summer holidays lend themselves to prayer. Some thoughts on the art of praying, by Klaus Hemmerle once bishop of Aachen, Germany (1929-1994).

Klaus 1Augustine provides us with one of the most valuable intuitions on prayer: “God’s ear hears the heart’s voice” (Comment on Psalm 148).

Letting God’s ear rest on our heart, opening our heart to God’s ear: this is what it takes, this is the art of praying, an art, by the way, that’s for everyone. Actually, it’s not ours, but of the Spirit that God gives to us, the Spirit who prays in us, for we don’t know how or for what we should pray (cf Rm 8:26).

[…] Prayer is elevating the heart to God. But are we capable of that? Isn’t the range of our understanding too limited for our heart to be able to elevate itself to God? Isn’t the impulse of our heart too weak? Don’t burdens attach themselves to our heart and weigh on it, paralyze it and bring it down? What gives us the courage to claim: Our heart is turned to the Lord?
His ear. He has lowered it to us. The Father listens to the Son. And the Son came down among us, into our flesh, into our heart. Within the heart of the Son, the Father listens to every beat of our heart, in the heart of the Son he finds our heart. In Him in whom we were made, loved, supported, gathered – the Father hears us.
To elevate our heart means to leave it where it is and discover that where it is, with us, is the heart of God in the heart of his Son. Abandon yourself in Him and he will hold you. In Him, God’s ear is upon your heart; in Him your heart is at God’s ear.

[…] The opposite is just as true: God keeps his heart against your ear. He revealed, conveyed, gave, not something of Himself, but His Self. If you believe in him, if you adhere to Him, if you stick to Him, then you don’t hear a novelty, a directive, a command: you hear his heart. Stay near to Him until you discover this heart of yours. He’s in need of your patient listening in order to open your heart; actually, only patience comprehends love and learns love. He will reveal Himself to anyone who loves Him, and He makes His dwelling with that person (cf Jn 14:21-23).

[…] God has your heart at his ear, so that through your ear his heart penetrating your heart, might become your heart. The ear of God on your heart – the heart of God at your ear – like the alternating found in prayer. Only the pray-er knows God. Only the pray-er knows the human person.


From Klaus Hemmerle, Con l’anima in ascolto, Guida alla preghiera,(Rome: Città Nuova Ed.,1989), 9-11.



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