Monday, January 19, 2009

Speak, for your servant is listening

Yesterday's first reading from Samuel, is helpful for many reasons, but especially in teaching us elements of prayer.

"At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

So often, me thinks, our usual, and hopefully unconscious, call to God is "shush God, your servant is speaking", as we ramble on our list of needs and wants to our heavenly Father Christmas " gimmee, gimmee, gimme, in Jesus' name, amen", and than out the door, latte in hand.

Oh yeah, I am as guilty of this as anyone, and thankfully found a convicting call to my heart in this passage. Learning to listen to God, or anyone quite frankly, is not the easiest thing for most people; but what shows greater humility?, or helps us more, than a heart and mind open to God.

Granted, if we listen to our Lord we might have to do something we don't want, love someone we'd rather not, work somewhere that pays less . . . we might have to serve and submit, and like Christ, have our own desires crucified for the sake of the One who sends us.

The passage also ends with a promise for those with "ears to hear" (it's also a great line to defend papal infallibility with), as well as a bit of almost biblical sarcasm, in that unless we learn to listen, we will never "grow up".

"Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect."

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