You have to listen

One thing I know is that God never feels the need to rush into things; after all, He is beyond time and place; what will happen, is happening, and has happened. I also believe that He has a marvelous sense of humor and derives no small amount of enjoyment in observing our feeble attempts to do things on our own without His love and support.

For more than thirty years I refused to have any connection with God and, for the most part, He patiently obliged. Like a petulant child who stubbornly ignores whoever happens to be the offender of some perceived injustice, I saw no need to engage with Him in dialogue or to acknowledge my dependence on Him. Oh, I recognized that He was there and never doubted His presence … I simply found it easier to ignore Him and to do as I pleased.

But God never leaves us to our own devices, no matter how much we may try to push Him away. He reacts to our rejection much like ‘no-see-ums’ on a sweltering summer’s day; nearly invisible and highly annoying, you cannot resist them, harm them, or catch them and, perhaps most irritating of all, you simply cannot ignore them. Generally, you are reduced to swatting helplessly at them while dashing for cover to elude their insistent distraction.

For the longest time I pushed God from my life; I had more important matters to consider: family, friends, business, life and all its pleasures. I simply had no time for Him. Externally, life was good, full of sunshine and laughter, success and rewards; internally, the light within my soul was dimming; slowly but inexorably fading into darkness.

Sadly, I believe there are far too many of us who find ourselves gorging at the banquet of life while totally ignoring God’s food; suffering simultaneously from secular gluttony and spiritual anorexia.

While I refused to listen to God, He refused to leave me alone. Small voices, silent, yet often so loud they hurt, would speak to me, telling me to turn away from the darkness and open myself to His light. As quickly as they were born, I silenced them, refusing to allow them to break free and grow. But God is persistent and He kept at it — for over thirty years. As hard as I tried, I could neither hide nor silence the voices.

I seldom bent my knee in prayer — for in truth I had no understanding of it. I grew up in a Catholic family, attended Catholic school, Mass on Sundays, was an altar server, sang in the choir, and could recite all the standard prayers but never truly learned how to pray. It never occurred to me that prayer was meant to be bi-directional or that I was supposed to occasionally shut up and listen.

In order to hear God one must tune into Him with a humble heart, an open mind, and a receptive soul; you must turn up you sacred hearing aid and listen. Listen quietly and you will hear a tiny whispering sound, and the Lord will be in that tiny whispering sound. But you have to listen.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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