December 14, 2019
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Listening for the Voice of God

Listening for the Voice of God

“My name is Pearl. I am a snowy white Turkish Angora cat. When I was a little over one year old, I found myself lost in the woods. I don’t remember how that happened to me. That part of my story remains a mystery to me. But I ended up wandering through those woods for four whole months.

My only source of food, while in those woods, was the few mice that I was able to catch. The most frightening thing to me, during my time in the woods, was the thunderstorms. They were loud. They were scary. And I would get soaking wet and very cold.

One day I was even chased by a fox. He almost caught me too. He bit me on the neck and he bit off the tip of one of my ears. Luckily I was able to escape by climbing a tree. I stayed up in that tree all that day too. I even slept up there all through the night. I wanted to be very sure that the fox had left before I came down.

The next day I climbed down from that tree; and I spent the entire day just walking through the woods crying. Mew – mew – mew! I was hungry. I was tired. And my beautiful white coat was all dirty and matted.

Then late that afternoon, I heard a voice calling to me from way off in the distance. I couldn’t believe my ears. The voice was saying, “Here kitty! Here kitty!” I ran in the direction of that sound. As I neared the source of that sound, I discovered that it was coming from a man. This was the first human I had seen in over four months. I was so happy. I rubbed his legs. I purred. I even rolled over on my back, I was so overjoyed. He fed me and gave me some water to drink. Finally, I was saved.”

That’s Pearl’s side of the story. She was rescued because I heard the sound of her cries coming from deep in the woods one day while on vacation. It took several trips to a veterinarian to mend her many wounds. The veterinarian said, “She had obviously been lost in those woods for a very long time. In addition to all her wounds, she was a very thin and underweight.” But since then, she has become the most affectionate and the most beautiful cat I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. But to this day, she will still run and hide whenever she hears a thunderstorm.

In the Gospel of John (6:45), Jesus says, “Everyone who listen to my Father – comes to Me.” The New American Bible translates that line as, “Everyone who has heard the Father – comes to Me” That statement reminds us of one critically important fact. God speaks to us, His children.

Pearl heard my voice just once; she came to me and was rescued. Our Heavenly Father, on the other hand, speaks to us, His children, all the time. But, sadly, many of us fail to hear, or even recognize, the sound of His voice.

The authors of our Declaration of Independence wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” C.S. Lewis, in his book “Mere Christianity” wrote, “The human idea of decent behavior is obvious to everyone.” Both of these statements emphasize a presupposition that there is a body of knowledge, or standards of behavior, that is known or understood by every human person. Call it natural law or human nature, but how can we explain the fact that there is a body of knowledge that is self-evident, or known and understood by everyone, other than by the fact that it was somehow communicated to the very spirit of mankind.

Jesus told us that, “God is Spirit”. (John 4:24) Therefore, we should not expect to hear God as an audible voice, as we would any human person. When Jesus said, “Those who worship Him must worship in spirit” (John 4:24), He is clearly implying that our worship must emanate from the very core of our being, from our thoughts, our feelings and our emotions. Consequently, God communicates with us, His children, in the same manner. He speaks to us, in a very personal way. He speaks directly to our thoughts, our emotions, our feelings and our desires.

Yes, God speaks to us through Sacred Scripture. Yes, God speaks to us through the Church and the Sacraments. Yes, God speaks to us at times through other people. But constantly, at every moment of our lives, God is with each and every one of us personally and intimately, and He communicates directly with our spirit. And with a little practice we can learn to recognize His voice and live our life in constant communion with our Heavenly Father.

St. Paul tells us, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God”. (Ephesians 4:30) And in another letter, Paul says, “Pray without ceasing”. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Both of these statements can be best understood if we are aware of the ever present and continual communion that we have with the Spirit of our God. He is always with us. His loving voice communicates continually with our spirit.

Pearl wandered through the wilderness hoping to hear the voice of someone who would save her. Unlike Pearl, our faith tells us that we are never truly alone in our journey through life. Our Savior is always with us. If we simply surrender our selfish desires to the will of God, the sound of His voice becomes self-evident and obvious. And we don’t need perfect hearing to detect the sound of His voice. We simply need to listen to Him with our heart.

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Written by
Deacon Donald Cox
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