I love the story in today’s First Reading. The prophet, Eli, is awakened by young Samuel. The boy has heard his name called not once or twice, but three times. It isn’t until the third disruption of his sleep that Eli realizes what’s happening. The child is hearing his name, but is it the Holy One of Israel who is calling to him. Eli instructs the boy to return to bed. He tells Samuel that if he hears his name again, he should say, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”
We all struggle to hear the voice of GOD. Sometimes, we can’t tune in because there are so many other “voices” competing for our attention. Sometimes, we hear the voice but can’t quite be sure to whom it belongs. We question ourselves, feeling unworthy of GOD’s time and attention. That’s when a spiritual companion can be so helpful. When we can accept that we’ve heard the voice of GOD, we accept that GOD dwells within us – speaks from the depths of the human heart. If we are made in the image and likeness of GOD, as the writers of Genesis assert, then some part of us “knows” some part of GOD. There is a bond between Creator and creature that has been ultimately sanctified in the Incarnation - in the Word becoming flesh.
We hear lots of “voices.” What keeps us from hearing the voice of GOD call us by name? What holds us back from praying as Samuel did? From asking GOD to “speak?” My limited experience tells me that if we ask, we will receive. We need only to trust that we are so loved.