Monday, January 23, 2012

Novena - Do You Recognise God's Voice

This week I attended a bible sharing with some university students, and they were reflecting on this Sunday’s Gospel passage. One girl remarked “I can’t believe that Jesus just approached the fishermen Simon, Andrew, James and John, and said to them ‘Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men’, and they just left everything and followed him, How did they know he was the Messiah, not some mad man? Didn't they ask him who he was, listen to what he was teaching first, make sure he was the Messiah first before agreeing to follow him?"

I don’t believe that St Mark was trying to say that was exactly how it happened. But what St Mark was trying to say was, that when God calls, it is an invitation to respond, and that is what the fishermen did.

But the problem is, how do we know when God is calling us, and what he is calling us to do? Like the university student, we all want some kind of surety. We want to know is that really God's voice? Is that what he really wants me to do?

Sometimes I get jealous when I read about the prophets in the Old Testament, how God speaks to them so directly. Like Jonah in todays 1st reading, and Mother Mary who had an angel appear to her. Why can't God speak to us like that? Then at least we can be sure of what he wants of us.

The truth is that God is still speaking to us today. The question that we need to ask ourselves is how familiar are we of the voice of God? I'm sure we all have experiences where we pick up the phone and just from the greeting of the other person, we know who it is. Especially if it is our mother or a very close friend. That is because we have spent much time speaking and listening to them that we know the sound of their voice, and even the way they talk.

So it us with God, we will only know his voice if we spend time in prayer with him. Not just praying for blessings and giving thanks, but in also listening to what he has to say, through the scriptures, the church, and even the Catholics around you.

How often we turn to God also plays a part to getting to know his will and call for us. Most people only associate God's call to the call to the priesthood, or when they have a major or difficult decision to make. But God is speaking to us everyday, even in the small things, trying to guide us in our lives if we only allow him to, and if we only ask him.

He may be saying to you that a colleague is going through a tough time and just needs a listening ear, or for you to invite your friend for Mass one day. Try asking God in the morning, what do you want me to do today.

The more we pray, the more we ask him to reveal his plan for us, the closer we will grow to him, and the more familiar we will be of his voice. So when he really asks something big of us, we will be a bit more sure that it is him speaking to us.

Then we just need to have a bit of courage and trust, and do it. We don't need to be 100% sure. The prophets, the disciples and even Mother Mary were not 100% sure of what good was asking of them. It is only as they lived out God's call that they became more and more sure.

So let us pray that we too may be more aware of God's call in out lives, and we continue to grow closer to him. Amen.