10 Jan 2018
It takes practice to recognize the Lord’s voice. You know, we might look at spiritual giants like St. Francis or St. Benedict or St. Teresa of Avila and think, “Wow! they had it all figured out.” And that could be true. But they didn’t start out having it all figured out. They had to learn. And the first thing they had to learn was how to recognize Christ’s voice.
And it was the same with Samuel. The Lord hadn’t spoken to him before so, obviously, he couldn’t recognize the voice of God when he did speak. Learning to hear God’s voice took time. It took practice. And it took the help of the high priest Eli. And we should expect to have the same learning curve in our own relationships with the Lord.
It doesn’t seem to matter how young or old we are, we’re always learning to be attuned better to what God is saying. And one valuable tool for us is what Eli said to Samuel: “If you are called, reply, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” If we want to hear and recognize the voice of Jesus, it’s good to pray: first, that the Lord speak and, second, that God give us the grace to be quiet…and listen.
And another valuable “tool” from Scripture we can use is the example of Eli. If we want to recognize the voice of Jesus, then seek the advice of people who know what he sounds like, and how he speaks: saints, spiritual writers, friends, and so on.
It takes practice to recognize the Lord’s voice. But with prayer and the help of others, we can learn. And if we already know the Lord’s voice, that’s great! Who else desires to know him? And how can you be like Eli to that person?