If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
This refrain from Psalm 90 reminds us to always be listening for the voice of the Lord. Last week we heard the beautiful explanation of how to pray. An integral part of prayer is listening. As I noted, prayer is conversation. It is a two-way street. One cannot simply ask for something without waiting for an answer. Moreover, if we are always talking, the Lord can’t get a word in edgewise.
While we are accustomed to listening to the Word when it is proclaimed at Mass, how adept are we at hearing God’s voice when we going about our daily tasks? In today’s “noisy” society, do we not find that the voice of the Lord is drowned out by the radio, the internet, the MP3 player? Do we become so used to having our lives filled that we do not leave room for the Lord to speak?
The familiar reading from Ecclesiastes reminds us that all is vanity if we do not fill ourselves with the Lord. What does it profit us if we have many possessions or friends or power, but we lack what is truly important: God’s presence? That is not to say that God abandons us; rather, we abandon God. We sometimes relegate God to 45 minutes (or less) on Sunday and the other 111 hours (assuming we sleep for 8 hours a day) or 125 hours (for those who get 6 hours rest) we spend on worldly pursuits.
The challenge facing all of us is to become rich in God. In order to do this we should view the things of this world as merely tools to achieve heavenly glory, not as ends in and of themselves. For our reflection this week, I suggest that we do a “time inventory.” Calculate how much time we spend doing various activities. Do our worldly pursuits outpace our Christian service, charity or worship? Do we spend more time building up earthly treasure or do we enrich ourselves with heavenly gifts such as spending time with our family, taking time to meditate and pray, using our gifts and talents to assist others in their need?
If all earthly things are vanity, what heavenly gifts are we pursuing?