And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (this Sunday’s first reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-10)
Samuel was still a boy when this occurred. But, he was being well taught. His mother, Hannah, who had struggled to conceive a child, had entrusted Samuel to Eli, the priest. She had prayed to conceive, was blessed by Eli at the time and vowed that, if her prayer were granted, she would consecrate her child. Indeed, as we read in I Samuel 1:25-28,
They brought the child to Eli. And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.” She left him there for the Lord...
Mother Teresa says that “listening is the beginning of prayer”. Samuel was learning to pray. Interestingly, the first word of prologue to the Rule of Saint Benedict—whereby the monks live their life of consecration of God—is “Listen!” And, Saint John Vianney (+1859), patron of parish priests, who, during the last ten years of his life, spent 16 to 18 hours a day in the confessional in his village church in Ars, France, says,
When it's God Who is speaking . . . the proper way to behave is to imitate someone who has an irresistible curiosity and who listens at keyholes. You must listen to everything God says at the keyhole of your heart.
Are we listening? Do we try? Do we set aside quiet time to be with God, as an expression of desire and good-will, even if we know that we will be assaulted by distraction? Do we tell God, in the midst of the noise in our heads, that we want to hear His voice, that we want to hear the silence of His love? Such expressions can only lead to greater intimacy, for the Holy Spirit will take care of the rest.
Yours in Christ,