In our First Reading today we hear of Samuel, a young man who along with Eli, a priest of the Temple, were spending the night guarding the Ark of the Covenant, the Ten Commandments. Repeatedly Samuel got up at the voice of someone calling him and went to Eli to ask what he needed. Eli repeatedly told him that he did not call him, and he should return to sleep. It was not until the third time Samuel came to him that Eli realized it was the Lord who Samuel was hearing, and he instructed him to answer, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
Have you ever experienced the Lord speaking to you? Or have you had “a feeling” that came over you that helped you to make a decision or carry out a specific task? Or perhaps there were times in your life when you were greatly concerned, anxious, depressed or grieving, and in prayer you came to be at peace. These experiences are indicative of God speaking to us. The Holy Spirit moves gently in our lives allowing us time to discern, to pray, to come to peace about the struggles we face in life.
The story of Samuel’s call can be our own story. God calls each of us in varied ways and if we are listening, sometimes with the “ear of our heart”, we recognize who is speaking to us and we are assured of the direction we need to go. The most important message from this biblical account, may be that we are to become aware of God’s voice in our lives. We need to be open to hearing and responding to God. And like the advice that Eli gave to Samuel, we too, need to respond to God, letting him know we hear him and that we, his servants, are listening.
In this way, we will know God is with us as we continue to serve him and his people in right ways. The world we live in today does not often provide us quiet time, rather we need to seek out time to be in silence. In doing so we increase our ability to hear God’s voice. Eucharistic Adoration, time alone in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, can gift us that quiet and most sacred time. I encourage everyone to practice this blessed form of prayer whenever you have the opportunity to do so. (Check our bulletin for times.)
Equally important is to know is that you can choose to be in silence wherever you are, for a few minutes or for a prolonged time during which you can ask God to simply “be” with you. Some may call this contemplative prayer, centering prayer, or time for discernment. Whatever it may be called, it is most certainly a gift.
Let us take time as we begin a new year to sit with the Lord in silence, that we, like Samuel might hear the Lord calling, then we, too, can answer, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
Have a blessed week,