Have you ever heard the voice of God tell you exactly what to do, how to do it and when to do it? Maybe you have the gift of unequivocally hearing Him. Praise God for that. For the rest of us, discerning God’s will is an arduous process that very often results in “am I really supposed to be doing this?”
This week, I’ll share four disciplines that have helped me discern His voice amidst the noise and chaos.
Silent Prayer. “God is the friend of silence,” St. Mother Teresa said. She believed that “when it’s difficult to pray, we must help ourselves to do so. The first means to use is silence. We cannot put ourselves directly in the presence of God if we do not practice internal and external silence.” Amen to that.
In our hyper-connected world this is difficult to do. We need help. Start by losing the distractions and then asking the Holy Spirit to help you pray. Read more about how to incorporate silence into your life here.
Blessed Sacrament. There’s no silent place more beautiful than an Adoration Chapel. When I first found out about the Real Presence, it took my breath away. You mean to tell me that the King of the Universe is here with me literally, not figuratively? I’m convinced that when you fall in love with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament you really fall for Jesus. Try it. But remember, it’s a discipline aided by His grace. Keep going back until you never want to leave.
Read Scripture daily. The will of God will not be contrary to the word of God. If you think the Lord is telling you to do something but it isn’t backed by Scripture or Tradition, think twice. It’s helpful to point out, that when you are in a conundrum but don’t read the Bible regularly, it’ll be hard to scour over it in that moment and find an answer. As we read Scripture daily, it’s imprinted in our hearts, and at the opportune moment the Holy Spirit will reveal the right verse to us.
If you’ve never read the Bible, don’t start with Genesis thinking you’ll make it to the book of Revelation at the end. If you are like me, you’ll give up by Leviticus. Start with the New Testament, specifically one of the Gospels or the Acts of the Apostles which reads more like a story.
Turn to others. The Lord made us for Himself but also for each other. As St. Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, we are the members of the body of Christ. Seek out the counsel of a wise friend, holy priest, or another trusted person.
I have to admit, I struggle with this one. I usually don’t reach out because I don’t like others to know that I don’t have it all together (thank you, stubborn pride). In addition, I often worry that I’m bothering others with my “insignificant” problems. As I’m struggling through a difficult season, I realize just how foolish this is. Not a single person I reached out to made me feel like I was bothering them, nor did I feel judged.
And, finally, it would seem appropriate that the One who has more to say should be given the opportunity to speak, meaning, we have to come into prayer with an open heart saying with the young prophet Samuel: “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 2:10), trusting that the Lord will do the rest.
Until next time let’s ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in our search for His voice. Come Holy Spirit come, help us hear You above the noise and chaos.
St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.