we must listen in silence, solitude, and stillness

If you wish to hear God’s voice, you must listen with all your heart, mind, and soul. This calls for us to take the first step by preparing ourselves to hear His voice by entering a place of silence, solitude, and stillness. For each of us that place will be different and at times difficult to reach.

Someone recently asked how they could become still with all the distractions associated with daily living. It is seldom easy to be still, to find serenity midst chaos, peace surrounded by hatred, and tranquility within the bustle of our daily lives. To empty one’s mind, heart, and soul of all but God seems like a pipe dream and an impossible quest. Yet it is not impossible. It is in fact absolutely essential, although it may initially take a fair amount of effort to achieve.

You might begin by finding a place of quiet solitude, where you are alone. This might be a seat in your garden, a room in your home, or a pew in the church. Close your eyes and relax; try to let go of any conscious thoughts. Pray the rosary. Reflect on the mysteries as you pray and you will soon discover that all other thoughts have been pushed into a corner of your mind, allowing your mind to be with God. When you find your mind straying, focus on the words you are praying, let them become a mantra, dispelling thoughts of the world from your mind.

Once you are still, in a solitary place, and silent then you are ready to take the second step which is to listen for God’s voice.

Listening is an important life skill. We listen to learn, to understand, to be informed, and even for pleasure. We listen not only with our ears but also with our eyes and our intuition. You might think that with all the listening that we do that we are naturally good listeners but sadly it just isn’t so. Studies suggest that we remember less than half of what we hear. Think about it. In any ten-minute conversation perhaps as few as two minutes and at most five minutes of it will be remembered.

To really listen you must pay careful attention to what is being said, you must actively listen, making a conscious effort to not only hear what is being said, but trying to understand what you are hearing. Too often we find ourselves waiting for our chance to speak and to be heard.

If you are distracted, you aren’t really listening. If you are thinking of how to respond to whatever is being discussed, you aren’t really listening. If you are bored or thinking of other things, you aren’t really listening. If you aren’t listening then you aren’t hearing and cannot fully understand what is being said.

It is no small wonder that we claim to seldom if ever hear God for we are such poor listeners. God seldom speaks to us in normal conversation. As with Elijah, God was not in the strong and heavy wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire; rather God was in the tiny whispering sound. To hear God we must listen in silence and solitude with a stillness of heart, mind and soul.

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: http://deaconscorner.org. 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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