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ARE WE LISTENING FOR GOD’S GENTLE VOICE?

Father Francis's picture
Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

1 Kings 19:9, 11-16 & Mt. 5:27-32

Elijah the prophet thought he was a failure because he was unable to convert his people from idolatry. In his disappointment he yearned to die because God seemed so far away from him. Then the Lord told him to go to the mountains because He, the Lord, would pass there. Elijah apparently expected a marvellous manifestation. But he did not find God in the mighty wind, nor in the great fire, or even in an earthquake. To his amazement Elijah felt the divine presence in a breeze so gentle that seemed like a whisper. The lesson was that without a great fanfare God would work His will for Israel in His own way.

Sometimes we may want God to intervene dramatically in our human affairs. Why should He not use His power to prevent people from destroying millions of innocent human lives through abortion? Is He not concerned enough to give us a miraculous cure for the terrible affliction of Alzheimer’s? Why does He not prevent natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes?

When we think of our own problems, we may wonder why God does not seem to answer our prayers. Perhaps through those prayers we are attempting to keep a marriage together, to rear children properly, or to make ends meet financially so that we can be free from anxiety. Why does God not answer these prayers, which we think are so worthwhile and deserving of His assistance?

We are in much the same position as was Elijah. He waited and waited for God to speak to him and in his anxiety he had almost reached the point of despair. Then, in the midst of all the turmoil, God did speak to him in a quiet and gentle way, guiding him and explaining what he was to do next. Sometimes we, too, feel so overwhelmed by our problems or our sense of failure that we can see no way out. But if we listen attentively we may hear God's quiet voice calming our fears and showing us the next step to take. God does answer prayer but we may think that He ought to do things our way - we must accept that He will do things His way, for He knows what is best for us if we are to reach heaven.

Holy Spirit, when next I am praying earnestly for help or advice, help me to listen for God’s gentle voice, which will bring me.

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