Listening to the Gentle Voice
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” – Mt 17:5
Many voices vie for our attention. They can be placed in two camps. One is against us; the other is for us.
The first and louder kind says, “Prove that you are a good person,” or “You’d better be ashamed of yourself,” or “Nobody really cares about you,” or “You’re a nobody because you don’t have anybody,” or “You’ve done THAT! God can no longer love you!” or “You’ll never be ______ enough.” This type of voice demands that we make ourselves more successful, popular, powerful, productive, and even holy in order to be accepted and loved. It so permeated in our society and ingrained in us that going against this voices is a struggle and involves some sort of withdrawal and suffering.
Yet, beneath all these often very noisy voices remains a still, small voice that whispers, “You are my Beloved, on whom my favor rests.” That's the voice we need to hear most of all. To hear that voice, however, requires willingness; it requires solitude, silence, and a persistent humility to listen. It may take some time to get past those deafening voices telling us that our worth is directly proportional to how well we perform or to what we possess.
Listening to the second voice, which is gentler and deeper than human speaking, is essentially the journey of Lent. It is also the discipline of prayer: letting God’s voice express to you and I, in our own unique way, that we are “Beloved of God.” The more we allow this truth to ground and root our way of seeing and being, the more we are empowered to treat others as God’s beloved. Jesus kept going back to this center of his life. We are called to do likewise.
"Lord, help me to embrace time for prayer and solitude. Help me to listen to your gentle voice within.”
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