“Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”
(Responsorial – Psalm 40)
God is calling you. God is calling me. God is calling all of us. In today’s readings, we find this overarching theme and our hearts are stirred to evaluate how we are going to respond to His call.
In the first reading (1 Samuel 3-10, 19), we hear the beautiful story of Samuel hearing God’s voice call him in his sleep. Eventually, after consulting Eli, Samuel responds by saying, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” In the second reading (1 Corinthians 6: 13-15, 17-20), we find St Paul reminding us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Lastly, in our gospel reading (John 1: 35-42), Jesus helps us ponder this call by saying, “What are you looking for? Where are you staying?” and “Come, and you will see.”
God persistently calls Samuel and is just as persistent with us. He is always there calling us and we are continually challenged to hear His voice. Even after we are certain of what God wants from us, the task of putting it into action can be very daunting. So many times we are confronted with decisions we must make and know that others may be hurt in the process. It is not our intention to hurt another, but the call from God is so strong that we cannot refuse. So, we move forward in hope those in our lives will understand.
This past weekend, I saw a documentary about an actress some of you may know, Dolores Hart. She starred in several motion pictures and played the leading lady opposite the heartthrob of the time, Elvis Presley. Dolores was engaged to be married, but instead, chose to follow God’s call and entered the cloistered Benedictine Monastery, Regina Laudis, in Bethlehem Connecticut. It was clearly a difficult decision for Dolores to make and the impact, while at first painful, produced much fruit.
Whenever we look at the various calls of God, whether they are profound or minor, we ask ourselves what St Paul spoke about in the gospel. We need to know what we are seeking and what will satisfy those deep desires. It can be hard to look past money, power, control, and so many of the other consuming things in our lives. But if we do, if we learn to seek God, we find a peace like no other. Then we can surely ask the Lord, “Where are you staying?” We can seek Him wherever he can be found and trust that He will guide us to Him. When we open our hearts to His guiding presence, we find Him in the most amazing places. We may even find Him in a person we never thought would be open to God’s loving action.
God calls each of us, and the desire to hear and understand this call lies deep in our hearts. We are challenged to listen closely as Samuel listened. We must recognize our value, acknowledge that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and truly seek Him through our actions. Then, when the Lord says to us, “Come, and you will see,” our hearts and our lives will be ready to discover Him anew. Along the way, the journey will be amazing! I pray you open your hearts to God’s call and you respond like Samuel: Speak, for your servant is listening.”
*photograph by Sandra Monier at St Paul of the Cross Retreat Center, Pittsburgh PA