January 14, 2018
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
“Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” Samuel’s words, his “prayer,” in our first reading can change everything for us. We don’t know what the Lord said to Samuel, but we do know that he grew up, and the Lord was with him.
The word “speak” in Samuel’s simple prayer is the part we can relate to the most. We want to understand, to learn and to hear the Lord’s voice. Sometimes in our prayers we beg for it. We want God to explain Himself, to reveal the meaning to us. This is not unlike the first disciples in our Gospel today, asking Jesus where He is staying so that they could learn from Him. We want the Lord to speak.
The word “servant” in the prayer is a little more difficult for us. Yes, we want to believe we are His servants, but do we really have the heart and desire, or are we only interested if He provides us with the news we want or the direction in life that we’re interested in taking? Jesus tests the desire of the first disciples today by challenging them to “come and see.” They have no idea where He’s leading them, but with the heart and desire of true servants they trust Him.
The word “listening” can be the most difficult for us. Silence has become painful to us. Make no mistake about it; noise, busyness and distractions are all tools used by the evil one to keep us from listening. Yet, without silence, without real listening, Samuel’s prayerful response to the Lord’s calling is meaningless… and so is ours. The disciples’ willingness to spend time with the Lord, to abide with Him, to listen to Him, gives them a closeness and a strength that will allow them to follow wherever He leads them.
Clearly, the Lord who loves us is calling out to us. As believers, it’s impossible not to want to hear the voice of God. So that leaves us with the necessity to train ourselves in listening. How do we do that? As we have reflected on before, it is through meditation and contemplative prayer. Our catechism suggests Lectio Divina or the rosary as methods of prayer that can open us up to and lead us into contemplative prayer. What is it? (ccc 2709) St. Teresa of Ávila tells us, “Contemplative prayer is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him Who we know loves us.” It is a gift. By making time for it, we are making time for Him. Let’s listen.
Catechism Question of the Week: True or false? Christ endowed the Church’s shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. This means that the Pope and the bishops cannot sin. (see CCC 890-891)
With family, friends and those you meet, please discuss the following Question of the Week: Have you ever left something important and/or valuable to you for a calling or higher purpose?
In Christ’s Peace,
Rev. Leo M. Goodman III