When we listen to our hearts in prayerful silence, God’s voice rises up and guides our daily lives.


“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

We would be wise to listen to the voice of God, in our hearts, and turn away from sin! Jesus is constantly calling to us to follow Him, to be with Him, and to stay with Him. Only He can make us truly clean — spiritually clean. This is the example we see today in the Gospel of St. Mark with the leper coming to Jesus.

Perhaps the leprosy of our day is the social sin of greed that seems to have snared us all in one way or another. Sometimes it’s so subtle we fail to recognize it. At other times it’s just too hard to break away from the social ‘norms’ taking root in our country. At high levels decisions are often made purely in terms of economic viability. We may be appalled, but gradually that mindset seeps into our culture and into each one of us.

God communicates with us personally and this communication often involves our vocations — our call from God to serve His Kingdom in His’ preferred way. This call may involve a radical change of life — witness Jesus’ call to St. Paul while on the way to Damascus to persecute Christians.

And we Christians believe that God’s voice can be heard not only directing us to our vocations but also directing us daily in living our vocations.  Through the Holy Spirit, God dwells in our hearts making us temples of the Spirit. We receive the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit — wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, piety, fortitude, fear of the Lord.

The basic challenge facing us Christians in our very noisy world is building rhythms of silence and solitude into our lives enabling us to attend to God’s presence within our hearts. When we listen to our hearts in prayerful silence, God’s voice rises up and guides our daily lives. In attending to this presence we attend to God’s voice.

Unfortunately many of us irrationally resist listening and responding to God’s voice fearing it will somehow halt our happiness and fulfillment. But Jesus’ wish for us is that his joy may be in us and that our joy may be complete. We Christians have the comfort of knowing that following the voice of God will lead us to the deepest peace and joy possible in this world as well as to our most effective service to God.

Today’s feast provides the occasion to recall one of the more famous calls — God’s call to St. Anthony the Abbot. While listening to the Gospel reading in church, young Anthony was struck by the invitation of Jesus to the rich young man: “Go sell what you possess and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.”

The words resonated deeply in Anthony’s heart, and he became convinced that they were addressed to him personally. Anthony was eighteen and his parents had recently died and had left him their considerable estate; he was engaged in managing the estate.   But Anthony responded to the call, sold all his possessions and withdrew to the solitude of the desert, spending the rest of his long life living as a hermit.

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

You can take the opportunity today to “come and kneel” before Jesus and confess your need of healing through your examination of conscience and the sacrament of confession. Then and only then will you be able to hear those most wonderful words, from His lips, “I do will it. Be made clean.” (Mark 1:41)


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