Then the LORD said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD–but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake–but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire–but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11-13)
Can we really hear God speak to us? I don’t mean with a loud audible voice, but interiorly with a quiet voice and a strong sense that it is God speaking to us. Have you ever noticed how noisy our world can be at times? We celebrate holidays with ear-shattering fireworks. Young people listen to music so loud that you can’t carry on a conversation two rooms away. Television and radio evangelists shout their messages at the top of their lungs. Our television and radios are constantly on. Even our cities reverberate with sounds of traffic and construction. In such a noisy environment, it’s easy to understand why we might expect (or need) God to speak to us in a huge, booming voice.
But God generally doesn’t use spectacular means to talk to us. Elijah discovered that God’s voice isn’t like a strong and damaging wind or an earthquake or a raging fire. Rather, it is a tiny, whispering voice that still has the power to pierce us to the heart (1 Kings 19:11-13).
For our part, we need to listen carefully and be open to the many subtle ways that God speaks to us. We may hear him through a friend or co-worker. Sometimes, we may think that we’re hearing only the good thoughts in our mind, but it is possible God is behind even these thoughts, giving us guidance, assuring us of his love, and drawing us closer to him. We may hear God speak to us as we read and meditate on Scripture passages, or in our times of personal prayer.
Nowhere does God speak more passionately than during Mass. We gather as the family of God not to be observers but to celebrate together and to worship God. And it’s in the very act of worship that we can hear him speak to us-in the hymns that we sing, in the Scriptures and homilies that we hear, and especially in the Eucharist that we receive.
Don’t miss God’s voice by looking only for the spectacular. Quiet your mind as you read or listen to Scriptures; and quiet your restlessness and enjoy the beauty and simplicity of the liturgy, for Jesus is really there. Believe that you actually can hear his still, small voice as you worship him with all of your brothers and sisters in the faith.
“Jesus, I long to hear your voice. Open my mind and heart so that I can experience your presence and hear your voice, especially as I meditate on your Word and worship you in Mass. Lord, come and accept my life as I offer my whole life to you now.”
Maurice Blumberg is Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men Center.
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/) for allowing us to adapt material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- 1. Do you believe God can speak to you in a way that you know that it is him? Why or why not?
- 2. Share a time when you believe God “spoke” to you. What was its impact?
- 3. In 1 Kings 19:11-13, Elijah “saw” the Lord in the “tiny whispering sound.” Do you believe that God can speak to you deep within, as you come to him in prayer? Why or why not?
- 4. The meditation speaks of the different ways God can speak to us. What are some of the ways God speaks to you?
- 5. In the meditation, we also hear these words, “Nowhere does God speak more passionately than during Mass. . . . Don’t miss God’s voice by looking only for the spectacular. Quiet your mind as you read or listen to Scriptures; and quiet your restlessness and enjoy the beauty and simplicity of the liturgy, for Jesus is really there. Believe that you actually can hear his still, small voice as you worship him with all of your brothers and sisters in the faith.” What steps can you take before and during Mass to better respond to these words?