God's voice is heard through pure joy

Lydia Cristini


Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 18, 2015
1 Samuel 3.3-10, 19 | Psalm 40 | 1 Corinthians 6.13-15, 17-20 | John 1.35-42
January 12, 2015

Called by God. What does that even mean? Our Catholic faith tells us each human being has a universal call: the vocation to holiness or, in other words, the vocation to love. But each of us also has a unique call, a unique purpose, based on the specificity of who God created us to be.

So, the question is: How do I hear God's specific call for my life? That's where it gets tricky. Samuel heard an audible voice saying his name. That hasn't happened to me yet.

Speak, for your servant is listening. – 1 Samuel 3.10

'Speak, for your servant is listening.'

1 Samuel 3.10

Actually, I don't think I've ever been really "good" at listening to God, but in a recent talk, Basilian Father Glenn McDonald spoke about listening in a way I'd never thought of before. He talked about the importance of noticing when our hearts catch fire with joy.

This awareness of true joy can be a way of listening to God, of becoming aware of who God created us to be. Therefore, we can use it to direct our lives, to help us become more fully who we are created to be. We can use joy as a compass.

We have other tools to help ensure that we're following God's overarching call in our lives, as well. This brings me to my Grade 11 physics teacher, Mr. Green, and magnetization.

A normal piece of unmagnetized metal has a bunch of randomly-arranged atoms, their polarities all facing different ways, cancelling each other out. Now, if a strong magnet is placed beside this metal for a long enough time, the random atoms start aligning their polarity in the same direction as the magnet, polarizing the original piece of metal into a magnet itself.

There you have it: listening and responding to God's call through unity with God's will.

What I mean to say is, most of the time, I don't know God's next "big" move for me. But I do know God's will for me right now, in this moment: love. Not the syrupy, sentimental, warm fuzzy love. But the kind of love God is: unconditional, generous and self-sacrificing.


Therefore, if each of my small, present (atomic) decisions is aligned with his will, the main direction (polarity) of my life will also be aligned with his will. So simple!

And so difficult. My weaknesses and failings continually get in the way of this. My many, many, many weaknesses and failings.

But God has an answer for that, too: His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12.9). Now that's a reason for some hope – each of my weaknesses is an opportunity for God to show his strength.

By this grace and with joy as my compass, I hope and pray that I, and all of us, will be able to listen to the Holy Spirit and then respond, in both the small and the big things, as the psalmist did: "Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will."