Receive God’s Word With Grateful Delight

I had exposed myself to the foulest and most immodest of music in my high school and college years, a music that glorified violence, heavy partying, rebellion, and a warped sexuality. I knew it was not good for me because I dared not play such music in my mother’s presence! However, I kept justifying my delight in this music by thinking it was alright because I was only enjoying the lyrics and beats without actually engaging in the evils being promoted and portrayed in the music.

I realized the negative impact of such music only during my conversion experience when the Spirit of God convicted me that the values in such music was completely incompatible with my Catholic faith. I just could not stop listening to it then, no matter how hard I tried and how empty it left me. It is only after much prayers, pains, tears, and repentance that the grace of God slowly broke in to set me free from my unhealthy attachment to this music.

I thank God always for His mercy and Mama Mary’s unceasing graces that sustained me through that painful healing process. I also thank God for the precious lesson that I learned from this experience. I learned that what we listen to with delight affects us greatly in ways that we can never really fathom. I resolved to choose carefully what I listen to and delight in. 

The Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land where they would be exposed to the pagan worship of their neighbors. Moses prepared them for this transition with these words, “Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe.” He invited them to listen attentively to God’s words with gratitude and delight because it was indeed a great gift to receive God’s wise counsels, “What great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today?” The divine words would also affect them powerfully if they acted on it out of gratitude to God, “Observe it that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you.”(Dt 4:1-2,6-8)

Listening to the word of God with due delight and appreciation as His gift to us affects us in three ways.

Firstly, the word of God leads us out of ourselves towards God. The Pharisees had become so obsessed with the outward observance of their human traditions that they eventually ignored God’s commandments, “You disregard God’s commandments and cling to human traditions.” Consequently, their hearts were further distanced from God, “This people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me.” (Mk 7:6-13) They lost that true worship that is supposed to bring their hearts closer to God’s own heart by their adherence to His words.

Secondly, our grateful adherence to God’s words makes us truly sensitive to the needs of others. St. James speaks of that new life that comes from the word of truth, “He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” The first way we show evidence of this new life is our concern for the weak and the abandoned, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”(James 1:18, 2:27)

We have here the third effect of receiving God’s words with delight – it helps us to overcome the negative influences of the world. The faith that comes from receiving, cherishing, and observing this word is our guarantee of victory over this world, “The thing that overcomes this world is our faith.”(1Jn 5:4)

A clear sign that we are not listening to God’s words with grateful delight is that we just don’t care about the needs of others. We do not care about the right to life of the unborn. We do not care about safeguarding the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. We do not care about the effects of our scandalous behaviors on others. We do not care about granting our faithful exemptions from Covid vaccines on conscientious grounds. We just don’t care about any of these needs because we do not appreciate and delight in God’s words. 

Another sign that we lack gratitude for God’s words to us is that worldly values and mentalities prevail in our lives, Church, and world. We are more interested in following secular protocols than in actually making the sacraments available for the people in the times of pandemic. We close our Churches faster and longer than the bars and shopping malls. We prioritize our image, acceptance, and relevance in our world over our unwavering fidelity to God’s words in every time and place.

Such lack of loving concern for others and cowardly pandering to the world begins in our hearts, “All these evils come from within and they defile.” Everything begins in the human heart and greatly affects our hearts. In addition, what is in the heart comes from what we listen to and take delight in.

Therefore, we must choose carefully what we listen to and take delight in. St. James reminds us that God, the source of “all good giving and every perfect gift,” does not change, “With Him there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.” God’s words also do not and cannot change in their meaning, power, and effects in our lives. They are actually meant to change us from within by the power of grace that these words bear within, “Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.”(James 1:17-18)

The word of God is not just something extraneous from us now. This is because God is speaking these words to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, who dwells within us, “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days He has spoken to us by a Son.”(Heb 1:1-2) Thus, we must adhere to these words unconditionally if we are ever going to enter into the Promised Land of heaven.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we are guilty of grave self-delusion if we ignore these words or not act on them as St. James warned us, “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.” We delude ourselves when we claim that these words are not to be adhered to absolutely. We delude ourselves when we think that they can be changed and re-interpreted at our will. We delude ourselves when we think that a particular group of persons can be exempted from the demands of God’s words. In short, our discipleship, worship and service are shams if we do not also strive to adhere to God’s words by the help of His grace.

The Eucharist is the greatest prayer, the very prayer of Christ Himself. The Eucharist can also becomes vain worship if it does not lead us to that loving obedience that brings our hearts closer to the heart of the Father. Divine grace is given to us in this Eucharist for obedience to God’s words. But for us to heed these words of God unconditionally in our confused and confusing times, we must first listen with delight and gratitude to God who graciously speaks His words to us all the time.  

Glory to Jesus!!! Honor to Mary!!! 

Photo by Lennon Caranzo on Unsplash

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Fr. Nnamdi Moneme OMV is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary currently on missionary assignment in the Philippines. He serves in the Congregations' Retreat Ministry and in the House of Formation for novices and theologians in Antipolo, Philippines. He blogs at

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