My life moves along to a soundtrack of unrelenting noise. Giggles, whines, constant chatter, baby babble, singing toys, ringing phones, beeping video games, blaring music with booming bass (from the neighbor's house, not my own), the vroom of cars rushing by on the street behind our house, the hum of the washing machine, the whoosh of water running in the bathroom, the splash of drinks spilling in the kitchen, screams- both joyful and distressed, questions, answers, disagreements. It seems the only thing that never touches my ears is the sound of silence and I never seem to have a chance to even hear myself think. So, as I read over and over in spiritual books and articles, of the importance of quiet time to pray and listen for God’s still, small voice, I can only laugh. If God spoke to me in whispers His voice would be drown out in an instant. I am sure that is why the “experts”, the theologians writing all the spiritual books, stress the importance of finding quiet time, seeking out the silence and making it a priority. I have found in my weakness and humanity that on the rare occasion I do get a bit of quiet, I, unfortunately, tend to doze off before I have a chance to listen for God’s soft whisper. I am sure the experts would be greatly disappointed in me. God, however, in His great love and mercy realizes the obstacles in my life. He sees my challenges, my weakness, and, thankfully, my great desire to be close to Him in the midst of it all. Despite the fact that I am often overwhelmed with all the noise and sound surrounding me, I still desperately want to hear God’s voice. He is so, so good. For me, God shouts. No still, small voice would survive around here and in God’s infinite wisdom and power, He can see that quite clearly. So, when He has a message for me, a word of hope or guidance, He screams out, loud and clear, and there is no doubt the Lord has spoken.
Just this week, my Little Flowers girls and I were reading about Saint Monica. As we read the story of her life, a life lived in prayer for her family especially her wayward son, Augustine, we were all struck by her persistence in prayer and her faith that God would answer, eventually. In case you are not familiar with the story, after 17 years God did answer, in abundance, and St. Monica’s son is now known as St. Augustine. My children and I also read a story entitled The Glorious Flight by Alice and Martin Provensen, about Louis Bleriot, a French man who wanted to build a flying machine. He tried over and over before he got it right and became the first man to fly across the English Channel. Again, the theme of persistence came up as we discussed the story together. Then, as we always do on Thursday mornings during school, we read the upcoming Sunday gospel. The story? The parable of the persistent widow (from Luke 18:1-8). Even my seven year old could see that God was up to something. “I guess God wants to tell us to be persistent!” she said to me after hearing the gospel story. Yes, God has a way of making himself heard even if we can’t find a moment of quiet. His voice, which may sometimes be nothing but a whisper, is also capable of shouting over the din of life. And to hear, we need only to faithfully seek Him and listen-- as best we can.