July 30

Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is at hand. Zephaniah 1:7

“Let anyone with ears to hear listen.” Mark 4:9

Zephaniah is warning about the judgment of the Lord to all in Judah who have fallen away from God’s guidance. He also tells them what they need to do–listen to the Lord. Jesus, in the verse from Mark, has just told the parable of the sower. He wants his followers to listen and learn. In verses eleven and twelve Jesus told his disciples that to understand parables listeners had to also be believers.

These verses brought to mind a quote from Mother Teresa, the nun and saint who spent her life bringing love, peace, and comfort to thousands of the poor and suffering. She said, “If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you…Silence of the ears, by listening to the voice of God, and to the cry of the poor and needy, and closing them to all other voices that come from fallen human nature, such as gossip, tale bearing, and uncharitable words.”

We are bombarded by negativity in the news and, it seems some days, too much silence and isolation due to COVID19. Silence is different, though, when we talk to God in prayer and follow the examples that He has set before us.  He wants us to follow him and to love our neighbor. He is our guide in how to do so. 

I have often thought of how Mother Teresa, that tiny woman, could change the world, but she did. She lived in a dangerous area of Calcutta and still walked the streets helping anyone in need, usually the poorest of the poor. Of course, she had the assistance of the sisters in her order who worked as nurses and care givers to so many, but they could have been in danger also. God was her strength, her guide, her source of her purpose in life. 

What is your purpose in life? What would God have you to do? He told us: be silent and listen to him. Prayer is a comfort and source of strength even in the most trying of times.

Dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,

Thank you for being our unfailing source of trust and guidance at all times. Open our ears to always hear you even when silence surrounds us. Help us to listen to you even when the noise surrounding us tries to drown out your voice. Grant each one of us the wisdom to understand your plan for us. Thank you for your grace which passes all understanding. In your most precious name, Amen.

Florence Smallfield