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discernment

3 Suggestions For Hearing And Responding To God’s Voice

 

What does God want me to do?

That’s a question that we often ask ourselves.  While complaining that the Lord doesn’t speak to us, we sometimes fail to recognize the fact that He is speaking…it’s just that we’re not listening!

How do we get better at hearing and responding to God’s voice?  The readings from today’s Mass hold some important clues.  In the First Reading (1 Sm 3:1-10, 19-20), Samuel is unaware that the voice he is hearing is actually coming from the Lord.  Fortunately, the high priest Eli is able to let Samuel know that God is speaking to him.

LESSON 1:  Seek out the advice of a spiritual director or a trusted friend when trying to hear the Lord’s voice in your life.

In today’s Gospel (Mk 1:29-39), after healing Simon’s mother-in-law,  Jesus rose early the next morning and “went off to a deserted place, where He prayed”.

LESSON 2:  If you want to hear the Lord speaking to you, find a quiet place (even if only for a few minutes) and pray.  If it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for us.  According to St. Cyprian of Carthage, “If He who is without sin prayed, how much more ought sinners to pray?”

Once we have determined that the Lord is speaking to us (and possibly calling us to do something), there is one more thing that we should do.  While it is important that we learn to identify God’s voice, it is more important that we obey His commands.  A great piece of advice can be found in today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 40:2 and 5, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10)…

Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

LESSON 3:  Be open to what the Lord may be asking of you, even if it is difficult!

Following these 3 simple suggestions will help you hear and respond to the God’s voice.  Give it a try today and see what happens!

 

The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Had To Do…

During the fourth watch of the night, He came toward them, walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.  “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.  At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.”  Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.  But when he saw how [strong] the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  After they got into the boat, the wind died down.  (Matthew 14:25-32)

Many are you are aware of the fact that Catholic evangelization has never been a full time job for me.  Although I’ve always had the desire to work for the Lord on a full time basis, the advice I’ve received  from my spiritual director, from trusted friends and in prayer has been, “don’t quit your day job”.  As the sole provider for my wife and children, I understood and accepted the fact that my primary vocation in life is being a father.  As a result, I made the decision that I would hold on to my day job (as a control account manager in the defense industry) until I was able to earn a living working for the Lord (in some capacity).  I also had to accept the fact that, despite my personal desire, I may always have to hold a secular job and work as an evangelist on my own time.  Although I struggled with this reality, I did accept it.  While my wife and I felt that there is a good chance that it was God’s will for me to work for Him on a full time basis, we weren’t sure.  Therefore, we both agreed that we’d let the Lord decide when I would leave my day job.

That decision was made for me today as I was laid off due to a company downsizing. I suspected that it was coming, but there is no way for a “comfort zone” person such as myself to adequately prepare for this type of event.  I have been calling out to Jesus (as did Peter) and asking Him to command me to get out of the boat (of course, my plan was to have another boat waiting).  Today, the Lord asked me to step out and walk to Him.  There is no other boat waiting for me…only Jesus.  Although I’m afraid, I am listening and doing as He commands.

Over the past 3 years, my work as a Catholic lay evangelist has grown beyond my wildest expectations.  I never expected to become a regular guest on network Catholic radio, host my own radio show or write a book…but all of those things have happened due to God’s grace.  I have been blessed to meet, pray for and minister to many people over the airwaves, the Internet and in person.

As I write this, I can say that (for the moment) I am a full time Catholic lay evangelist.  Although the future is unknown, I am excited about the prospect of having more time to do the Lord’s work.  This should result in more radio appearances, increased blogging, additional posting on Facebook and Twitter and the start of my second book.  In the meantime, I will explore ways to generate revenue so that I can support my family and pay for the costs associated with Following The Truth (website, radio expenses, Internet costs, etc.).  I have some ideas and will begin to explore them now.

At some point, I may do something I’ve never done before and ask for donations to help keep my work at Following The Truth alive.  For now, I simply ask for your prayers, so that I may be able to discern God’s will, provide for my family and continue to help others to grow closer to Christ through His Catholic Church.  God Bless You!

Your Brother In Christ,
Gary

How Can I Know The Will Of God In My Life?

Great question, right?

Many of us are struggling to discern this on a daily basis.  Fr. John Bartunek addresses this difficult question using very clear and simple language.  One of the things that I really like about this post is his answer to the question of “When should I stop asking and just accept my suffering as God’s will?”. 

This entry really helped me and I’m sure will help many of you.  Don’t forget to pass the link to others who are struggling with this question in their lives!

How Can I Know The Will Of God In My Life?

The Cost Of Discipleship (And Knowing When To Shut Your Mouth!)

Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.  But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.  “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.  For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’   “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;  and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.  (Matthew 10: 32-40)

As many of you know, being a follower of Christ has a price.  If we are to fully live and teach our Catholic Faith, we’re bound to ruffle some feathers.  Our Lord makes this fact very clear in the above “pep talk” to the Apostles.  What sometimes gets missed is the fact that the Lord is most likely using hyperbole in order to make His point.  Rather than telling us to “go out and make enemies of your family and friends”, He is reminding us that the Gospel message can be challenging and will often cause division.  We can’t be afraid to proclaim the “Good News”, but we also have to know when to “shut up”.

Father John Corapi’s recent decision to leave the priesthood has been discussed “to death” on many blogs, including mine.  I’ve made my point (and I won’t rehash it here) and there’s not a lot left to say except “please pray for all concerned”.  While some people agreed with me, others vehemently (and I do mean vehemently!) disagreed with my comments.  I tried my best to respond charitably and I apologize if I failed.  In an attempt to  “stop the bleeding” and get people focused on the bigger picture, I made some folks angry.  While there’s a time for boldly proclaiming the truth, there’s also a time to shut my mouth and for me…

the time is now!

Until something significant arises, I’m going to reiterate that we should pray for Fr. Corapi and all concerned and I really mean it!  Don’t think for a minute that God can’t fix this whole ugly mess.  I’ve recently been getting the feeling that this situation could still have a happy ending.  Will it?  Not knowing all the details and the mindset of the players, I really have no idea.

I’ve learned a lot over the past few days.  Many of your comments really caused me to think.  Was I being charitable?  Was I causing division?  Was my pride getting in the way?  Should I have spoken out?  When should I stop speaking out? 

Now I’d like to ask you a question.  Has there ever been a time when you needed to defend the Catholic Church or caution someone about sinful behavior, even though you expected to be met with resistance?  What was your approach and how did it work out?

I’d really like to hear your comments.  I think it would help many of us as we try to spread the “Good News” of Jesus Christ in a bold, but compassionate way.

Determining God’s Will In Your Life (According To Mother Angelica)

People often ask me, “How do you know whether something is God’s Will in your life?”  I say, “Ask me next year, and then we’ll know whether it was God’s Will.”

The Lord isn’t going to come down and say, “Now, look sweetie, I want you to do this little thing for me.”  He’s not going to do that.  He gave you a brain.  He gave you a memory, an intellect, a will.  Do you realize that if you’re a Christian, you have Sanctifying Grace in you?  The Holy Spirit is in you.  Pray.  Move forward in His grace, and you will discover His Will for you. 

(Mother Angelica, from Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality, ©2007  by Doubleday Publishing)

One of the most difficult struggles for Christians is determining God’s Will in our lives.  We want to do what God wants us to, but how do we know for sure what “it” is?  One of my favorite sources of wisdom on this topic is Mother Angelica, the foundress of the EWTN Global Catholic Network.  Throughout her life, Mother has trusted in God even when it didn’t make sense.  Despite having no experience in broadcasting, she felt that God was calling her to start a television network and she did just that!   

When I read Mother’s quote, the main thing that hits me is the fact that sometimes you just have to try things, even when you’re not sure it’s what God wants.  If we feel moved to do something, pray about it and still feel moved to do it, we should probably “go for it”.

You can be sure that the Lord will let you know if you made the wrong move.  Even then, God specializes in bringing good out of everything…

even our mistakes!