Hearing and Listening

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Have you ever heard God speak to you? I believe God speaks to us in many different ways. I’ve talked to a number of people who tell me that God spoke to them audibly. They didn’t just “feel” the voice of God, they literally heard it. I believe that has happened to me once or twice.

In today’s first reading from 1 Samuel 3, God calls out to Samuel, who is a young boy living with Eli, the priest. When Samuel hears God calling him, he thinks it is Eli, so he runs and says, “Here I am.” When this happens a couple more times, Eli realizes that Samuel is hearing the voice of God. He tells Samuel to respond, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”

This always reminds me about the difference between hearing and listening. The two are often far different things. Ask my wife, she’ll tell you. I often hear things and people, but I’m not listening. Listening comes from being focused, being attentive. Perhaps there are times where we hear God speaking, but we fail to listen. I’ve found this can often be the case regarding some of the hard teachings of our faith. We hear what the Church teaches, but we really don’t want to listen. Remember the old EF Hutton commercial? “When EF Hutton speaks, people listen.” Let’s pray that when God speaks, we won’t just hear, we will listen.

Father, give us open ears and hearts and minds that will hear you speak, and listen to your word. Amen.

Today’s Readings


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