August 13, 2017 – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Hearing, Then Doing

This Sunday’s first reading hits home for me every time I hear it. There was a wind, but the Lord was not there…an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake…a fire, but He was not in the fire. Where was the Lord? Where did Elijah hear His voice?

He was in a whisper.

And Elijah hid his face as he knew he was about to encounter the Lord.

It is in the quiet that I am most aware of God’s presence and in the quiet that I most hear God’s voice. God doesn’t need to be loud to compete with the noise of the world that constantly seeks to drown Him out. The Lord puts us in a position to quiet ourselves and He makes His presence known.

A while ago, one of my best friends died in a car accident. I had never experienced a grief that was so physical and that wrecked me so emotionally. About a week after he died, I had a dream that he was still alive. It was so vivid and real that I quickly sat up in bed and reached for my phone to call him. But…then I remembered…he was gone. That same day, my boyfriend, David, (now husband!) and I were supposed to meet for our weekly holy hour of Adoration. I told David I wasn’t going to go, because I was angry at God for allowing me to have this dream and for taking my best friend away.

David said, “You’re mad at God?”

I replied, “Yup.”

“Okay, well, you can tell Him when we get to Adoration.”

I protested again, but he bribed me with Mexican food, so I reluctantly went! I walked into the Chapel very angry. I didn’t kneel. I sat down and said, “I’m mad at You.” Then I heard the words…a whisper at first…”Pick up your Bible.” I refused. The words got louder, “Pick up your Bible.” Again, I refused. The words got stronger and louder, “Pick up your Bible!” I relented! I opened right to the Gospel of John where Jesus is dining with Lazarus – Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Those words brought me so much peace and comfort and healing. If David hadn’t dragged me to Adoration, to the quiet presence of God, I may never have encountered the peace the Lord wanted to give me and the words He wanted to speak to me.

I have heard it said there are many reasons one wants to join the Church, but often only one or two reasons for why they leave–hurt or misunderstanding of Church teaching. When we are struggling with what the Lord is asking of us or what He is doing in our lives, it can be very tempting to run away. It is in our faithfulness that we allow Him to work and allow Him to reveal Himself and bring life out of the crosses we carry.

In the Gospel this week, Peter walks out on the water to Jesus. When things get a little scary, he falls in and cries out to the Lord to save him. The Lord reaches in and pulls him out but says, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” This week we are encouraged not to be perfect, but to be faithful. He can handle our doubt, and our cries out for salvation, but when we cut ourselves off from Him, leave and run away, we miss out on that whisper and the healing He longs to give. He will never, ever stop pursuing you. He allows us the space we need, though, and He will always be the one to get messy, to reach into the deep and pull us out of the water to start again.

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