Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time, January 13
In the Quiet of Our Hearts and the Serenity of Our Souls, May We Spend Quality Time with Our Lord Each Day, Communing with the God Who Has Given Us Life, Always Listening and Being Attentive to His Voice.
In our Gospel today, we read, “Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.”
For all who are setting aside personal time to reflect upon today’s Scriptures, God blesses each of us for placing Him first at this very moment in our day’s activities – desiring to be close to Him, realizing the importance of prayer and quality time spent with our Lord in our daily life. But we also know only too well the din of distractions and annoyances which constantly compete, constantly battle for our time and attention.
In the world in which we live today, a world of electronic media and communication and instant news, where we find ourselves inundated with all sorts of information from across the globe, it seems that so many different sources are competing with each other to make themselves heard.
Even on a personal level, I am sure that there are times when you and I have been conversing with someone, and, before we can even finish our sentence, they interrupt to share their own thoughts or finish our sentence for us.
Or perhaps we are in the middle of making an important point with someone, and their attention is pulled away as they answer their cell phone, send an email or reply to a text message. And I am sure that we have all watched someone we are talking to nod and even mutter “uh huh” – knowing all the while they really didn’t hear a word we just said.
In fact, most of us are probably guilty, at one time or another, of listening to others in much the same way. When someone is talking to either you or me, do we stop what we are doing and turn our full attention to that person?
The art of listening is simply listening with a commitment to hear exactly what another person is saying or intending to say. And this art of listening is especially important when it comes to our relationship with God. In the Letter of Saint James, there is a verse that reads, “Know this, my beloved brethren: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak…”
As I had reflected upon and mentioned in a recent meditation, speaking to and listening to God is what we do in prayer, since prayer itself is a form of communication, for it entails the raising of one’s mind and heart to God in both praise and petition. But, as with any communication, prayer involves not only conversing with our God, but also setting aside quiet time, so that we allow ourselves the opportunity of listening to what God has to say to us.
The ability of listening to God speak to us requires the same consideration that we would give to others – quieting our minds and removing our own notions of self-importance. Listening, on our part, requires a sense of humility and an open heart, receptive to what God’s Spirit is saying to us.
This ability to listen does not mean that we expect to hear a Divine Voice, but it does enable us to be open to the whisperings and inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Listening also enables us to reflect upon the enlightenments with which He may wish to fill us.
Communication with God is a two-way street. When we speak to God in prayer with a humble and contrite heart, whether our prayers are formalized such as the Lord’s Prayer or the Hail Mary which we may have learned when we were very young, or an informal conversation spoken from the depths of our heart, God turns His full attention to us and hears every word. And when we are done speaking, we need to spend quiet time allowing God to respond to us.
When it comes to listening to God speak to us in Sacred Scripture, I personally find it helpful to mentally place myself at the scene of whatever is occurring, visualizing the interaction between the principal characters about whom we read – in the case of today’s Gospel Reading, standing on the doorstep of the home of Saint Peter and experiencing the interaction between Jesus and the crowds of the sick and suffering who were reaching out for our Lord’s healing touch and consoling words.
And even though it is not mentioned in today’s Reading, I am sure there were many who were reaching out to God in prayer while waiting their turn, imploring His Mercy because of the sufferings they were enduring.
Do we not do the same in our own lives? With the gift of faith which we live daily, do we not ask God to heal us or those whom we love? Do we not ask for the grace of strengthening, so that we are better able to bear our own crosses in whatever form they may take?
And when we place our crosses next to our Lord’s on the hill of Calvary, uniting our sufferings to His, this then becomes the most grace-filled and intimate moment in our conversation with our Merciful Father, for it is then that we truly unite ourselves to His will for us in our daily lives! – for then our prayer truly takes on itself the form of redemptive prayer in which we cooperate with God’s grace for the salvation of others.
And we are reminded in our Gospel today of the importance that Our Lord Himself placed on prayer when we read, “Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.”
Even Jesus, the Son of God, in the midst of His public ministry, would find quiet time in prayer, realizing the need for silence in order for Him to spend quality time with His Father, speaking and listening to Him, all the while staying attuned and uniting Himself to His Father’s will.
And we are reminded of Jesus’ humanity in our First Reading today, in that Jesus “…had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people.”
And, in His humanity, He taught each and every one of us the priceless value of developing a personal prayer life – a personal relationship with God.
Listening to God, whether it be in the words of Sacred Scripture, the teachings of our faith, or even in the enlightenments we receive and upon which we privately reflect – they all help to keep us from straying or setting off on the wrong path in our continuing pilgrimage through life.
By virtue of our Baptism, God calls each of us to be His disciples, to be His prophets and witnesses in a world, in a culture today which no longer wishes to listen to what God has to say.
In the quiet of our hearts and the serenity of our souls, may we spend quality time with our Lord each day – communing with the God who has given us this wondrous gift of life, always listening and being attentive to His voice, and responding in all the ways which are most pleasing to our Lord and Savior.
And may we always take to heart the words of our Lord from the Gospel of John, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
- “…he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17)
- “Know this, my beloved brethren: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak…” (James 1:19)
- “…if you are called, reply, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” (1 Samuel 3:9bc)
- “All who call upon me I will answer; I will be with them in distress; I will deliver them and give them honor.” (Psalm 91:15)
- “The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” (Proverbs 15:29)
- “Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!” (Isaiah 58:9ab)
- “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
- “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
- “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
Prayer for the Day
“Thank You, O God, for all the graces
Which unceasingly You lavish upon me,
Graces which enlighten me with the brilliance of the sun,
For by them You show me the sure way.
“Thank You, O Lord, for creating me,
For calling me into being from nothingness,
For imprinting Your Divinity on my soul,
The work of sheer merciful Love.
“Thank you, O God, for Holy Baptism
Which engrafted me into Your family,
A gift great beyond all thought or expression
Which transforms my soul…
“Thank You, O God, for all the inspirations
That Your goodness lavishes upon me,
For the interior lights given my soul,
Which the heart senses, but words cannot express.
“Thank You, O Holy Trinity, for the vastness of the gracesSaint Faustina (Diary, § 1286)
Which You have lavished on me unceasingly through life.
My gratitude will intensify as the eternal dawn rises,
When, for the first time, I sing to Your glory.”