GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

"Shh! God's Talking!

To the unbeliever it may seem strange that God, Who is the Supreme Being, Infinitely Perfect, Who made all things and keeps them in existence, would care to talk to us at all. After all, who are we humans? Puny, sinful, and often stupid. Yet in the teachings of the Church, Lives of the Saints, and most recently through Our Lady's Messages in Medjugorje, we are told that God speaks to us every day in every way. He speaks to us in Scripture, in prayer, in the teachings and traditions of the Church, in good spiritual reading, in the circumstances of our lives and even in nature. When you witness a beautiful sunset, for example, is God not saying to you: "I love you! Look what I made for you! Yet your soul is much more precious to Me than this!"

Through faith, and the saints were great at this, we can see the action of God in every facet of our lives. Nothing happens by accident. Everything is within the Providence of God. God cares for us and watches over us as a loving Father would. It is relatively easy for most to understand that God speaks to us in Scripture and the teachings of the Church. But it is a little more difficult for many to "listen". I don't mean to be rude, but I don't think many human beings are really very good listeners, even to other human beings. Somehow when we are engaged in conversations, our minds are pushing to reply to the other person before he/she has really completed the thought.

St. Teresa of Avila defined prayer as "a conversation with God." A conversation! Not a monologue! But don't most of us, when we pray, do all of the talking? Is what we have to say to God more important that what God has to say to us? It is necessary to learn to quiet ourselves, to find time to be apart from the busyness of our lives to still our minds and hearts. Busyness can be a rival for God...something that threatens to take away what is needed to talk to and listen to Him. Yet, and this may sound contradictory, we can talk and listen to God in the "busyness" of our lives. Volunteers who sometimes come to help me will vouch that they have heard me talking to myself. (I answer my own questions, too, by the way.) Talking to myself out loud helps me concentrate on what I'm doing at the moment. But I have found myself at times asking the Lord a question and then listening for an answer. A while back, my copy machine jammed. "What do I do now, Lord?" I asked, then listened. Simple? Of course, but should we not involve the Lord in every aspect of our lives? Beleive it or not, He wants to be involved in them. He wants to be involved in you and me. Why not talk to Him about the problems, the joys, the griefs, the successes? He's there. He sees it all. He hears every word you think and say. Why not involve Him?

When it's possible for us to get away from the noise and hub-bub of everyday life, we really do need to quiet our minds and hearts and talk to the Lord, Our Lady, our guardian angel just as if they were right in the room with us. After all, they are!

Remember, that to most of us, God does not speak in an audible voice. He speaks through inspirations, quiet thoughts that enlighten us. But He also speaks (and we have to be looking for this and LISTENING for it) through other human beings and through circumstances. The more you listen, the more you'll become acutely aware of how, what, where, when, and who (sometimes even why) God uses other people or circumstances in your life. Try it...it works!

When Our Lady of Medjugorje asks us to pray every day for an increase of faith, I am sure one of the benefits or graces for doing so is to see more and more clearly that God IS speaking to us in many ways every single day. Every morning when we awake let our prayer be: "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." Then LISTEN...all day long. The Lord is speaking to you. STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN! ...and shhh! God's talking! Let's keep praying for each other. Until next month, may He love and bless you more each day.