“I can’t hear Him.”
My young son is whispering, and I’m annoyed. It’s Mother’s Day, we’re in church (one of my favorite places), and I’m kneeling down for this sacred moment – the highest point of the Mass. The priest is consecrating the Host and my little boy is insistently chattering in hushed tones in my left ear. Grrr. I just want quiet. I am not feeling holy.
“I CAN’T hear Him. I’ll NEVER hear His voice. Never!”
‘Uh-oh,’ I think. This is my fault. Try to do a good thing and…oh, well…
See, I was in Target on Saturday and in the $1 bins they had these cute little notebooks. I immediately remembered a suggestion I’d heard recently from Matthew Kelly, founder of Dynamic Catholic and acclaimed speaker and author. He explains:
Our lives change when our habits change. Get yourself a Mass Journal and bring it to church with you each Sunday. Write down the one thing that God whispers into your soul. This one habit will change your whole experience of the Mass, your relationship with God, and your appreciation of the Church. This one habit will help you become a-better-version-of-yourself, will make you a more engaged and contributing member of your parish community, and will invigorate your relationships.*
His straightforward idea was brilliant – a perfect way to focus my attention during the service, and on God’s will for me in the week ahead. One thing. I can do that. And so can my sidekicks.
So, on the way to church I gave each of my kids a notebook and explained the idea.
“Write down the 1 thing God says to you,” I advised. “Not 2, or 5, or 8. Just one.”
My older kids (12 and 9) understood right away and didn’t object because the idea was very simple. I could tell they were listening in church, and they were writing in their notebooks after the Gospel was read. But my little guy…Hmm.
I knew at the outset I was asking a lot. The kid starts Kindergarten in the fall. He writes his letters, but he can’t read. So, I told him I would write God’s message in his notebook for him. I mean, I couldn’t very well give the other kids a booklet and not him, right? That wouldn’t be fair. And now he says he can’t hear God. I didn’t quite foresee that difficulty, because this is the child who thinks of other people to pray for all the time. Every night during prayers, he asks God to surround everyone in the world with angels and help them have sweet dreams. He likes to read Bible stories and lights up when we talk about Jesus – who is, in his words, “the most, most powerful.” How do you tell a young child that the goodness in his heart is exactly the thing I want him to pay attention to right now?
His angst returned when we did our bedtime routine. I sensed there was more to this, so I pushed a little harder.
“What’s really wrong, buddy? We can put aside the journal until you’re bigger. That’s fine. You’re good boy. Why does this bother you so much?”
“I wanted to hear His voice FIRST!!!” he blurted out.
OH! There’s the rub. He wanted to know what God was saying before his siblings.
I knew we had to move away from the topic; he was just too worked up. So we read a book about spiders and called it a night. But his feelings struck me as universal.
When we’re listening for God, don’t we all want the satisfaction of hearing from him RIGHT NOW? Before anyone else? We love to be ‘in-the-know.’ And yet, sitting in faith can be like sitting in fog. What’s required of us is obedience and submission – the suspension of ourselves and our expectations as we wait for Him. He always fulfills His promises. He loves hearts that are turned to Him. But He’s sovereign. And good things come to those who wait.
“Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”
– Psalm 27:14
*(Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living With Passion and Purpose, p. 205) – request your copy of this book and a Mass Journal at Dynamic Catholic.