Grace to you!
In this second Sunday of Lent, may we reflect on the obedience of faith, taking our cue from Abram (Abraham), as well as God the Father’s public endorsement of the Lord Jesus Christ, “This is my beloved Son…listen to him” (Mt 17:5).
In one of my filmed television series yet to debut, I pointed out how the Catholic Catechism connected obedience to Abraham and Mary by drawing our attention to the etymology of the word: “ob audire” which is Latin, meaning “ to hear, to listen.”
From great men and women of faith, we learn how one matures in paying attention to God’s voice. In fact, how we can know the depth of our faith is equally the depth of our love. This means that obedience of faith is a powerful, enduring attentiveness to God’s voice, God’s word, and God’s ways, flowing from deep love of God.
Saint Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises is a convincing practical testimonial of someone who grew from inattention to God’s word to a keen sense of listening. Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus once hinted to her spiritual director how hardly three minutes passes without her thinking about God. Awesome! Mother Saint Theresa of Calcutta grew in attentiveness to God in such a way that every event of the day had something to say to her about God’s work. The voice of God was loud and clear in everyday life.
We go back to the first man in biblical history who showed us an exceptional example of the obedience of faith—Abram. Genesis 12:4 summarizes his faith example: “Abram went as The Lord directed.”
To be sure, what the Lord directed Abram to do was not a cozy, sweet invitation to a galore of joys. Rather, it was to journey to an unknown land, with all the uncertainties connected with going to the place of the “unknown.”
Many times in our faith life, we are pretty aware of what God wants from us. Those moments are always encouraging; even though not all the Lord asks is easy or sweet. However, I agree, many other times God’s ways are not clear. Yet God’s Word in Scripture and the Living Tradition shows us the way.
The seed of God in our soul keeps us updated with those unclear paths. The sense of faith of the faithful is still alive, guaranteed by the Holy Spirit. I am not concerned here about those gray areas; it will be a subject of another reflection. I am concerned about the silent voice, the nudges of the Spirit, which touches us from time to time as if to say, “My child, this is the right thing to do. This is the right way, follow it.”
Do we listen to God’s voice? Do we follow the promptings of the voice?
For a person of faith, there is the readiness to respond to God’s voice because God is the treasure of the believer. Recall the Lord’s word; “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mt 6:21).
Lent is a time to listen to God’s voice. God speaks to us through many ways. It could be the sermon which strikes us as if somebody told the preacher about us. It could be a Scripture verse which comes across with a sense of an urgent call to action. The voice of God resounds in unique ways at the Eucharist too, perhaps, stirring our heart to do something good and beautiful.
The voice of God could echo through the sight of the poor, the beggar or the stranger, which gripped us with the resonance of “do something.” It could be the conflict in our family, our parish or our organization, which have made us to reassess our decisions and attitudes; or sometimes, it comes with the resonance of remorse plus insight on what to do better.
Pay attention to that first voice. The first voice is often God’s voice. The second voice, which comes with some measure of doubt and an over-critical attitude, or what we know in spiritual life as censorious spirit, is likely the voice of Satan pulling us away from divine direction and inspiration.
During this second week of Lent, may we ask the Good Lord, Jesus Christ, the Word of Eternal Life, to give us the grace of listening; listening to him the Son of God. Amen
God love you. God Bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu.
[Second Sunday Lent A: Genesis 12:1 – 4 A; 2 Tm 1:8B- 10; Mt 17 : 1-9]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.