August 9, 2020
Is God speaking to you? Are you listening?
- God’s words to Elijah were not clear to him and he felt like a failure.
- There are a lot of people who feel like Elijah, overwhelmed by the power of evil, lonely, discouraged and confused about what you are supposed to do.
- Oftentimes, God treats us like Elijah and doesn’t always change everything the way we would want. But He gives us the next steps and what we need to know at the moment.
- There is so much distractions from the evil one that we can’t hear what the Lord is saying. God is calling us away from what is just human and into intimate union with Him.
- For the Holy Spirit to speak to us, times of silence are very important so that we can hear what the Lord is whispering to us.
We’re seeing God who sometimes manifest Himself in very overwhelmingly powerful ways, but here is speaking quietly, whispering in a very subtle way.
God told St. Faustina, “If souls would only want to listen to My voice, when I’m speaking in the depths of their hearts, they will reach the peak of holiness in a short time.”
What is needed at this time where there’s so much confusion and so much lies and manipulation, causing so much fear and anxiety in our society. It’s more important than ever, to be able to listen to the Lord’s whispering in the depths of our heart.
“After the fire, there was a tiny whisper in sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of a cave.” Elijah recognizes in this tiny whispering sound, the presence of God. Jesus said to St. Faustina, “strive for a life of recollection, so that you can hear my voice, which is so soft that only recollected souls can hear it,” which is so soft that only recollected souls can hear it. Is God whispering to you, is God whispering to you now? The Gospel shows Jesus also going up on a mountain to pray. And here, Elijah goes up, it says to Mount Horeb. Mount Horeb was another name for Mount Sinai. That mountain way out in the desert, barren desert wilderness, where God had led his people into the desert, to call them in, to invite them into a covenant with Him, in that when He gave them the 10 commandments, and in the description that we have of that chose God manifesting Himself and making His presence known by fire, thunder, lightning, dense clouds and smoke, earthquake, and signs that are so frightening. Everyone was terrified. They said, just talk to Moses don’t talk to us because they thought they were about to be destroyed. So, overwhelming was God’s manifestation. And so those signs that the Lord used to manifest His presence on Sinai, I find it striking here that in this passage that we read today, it said, “a strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord.” So that’s a very powerful wind, not like the nice breeze we’re getting here. But a wind, which is rending mountains and crushing rocks. But it says, “The Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.” So, this is talking about the same signs by which the Lord manifested himself on Mount Sinai to the people. But now it’s saying that He wasn’t in those signs right now. And so, it shows in two very different ways that the Lord can manifest Himself. And why would that be? Why would it be so different at Mount Sinai? I mean, with Moses and the people, than with Elijah right now, in a sense, almost the complete opposite. It might be that, in one case, He was talking to this huge mass of people who are very stubborn and credulous. And so, He had to powerfully manifest even with a terrifying manifestation, His presence. And now He’s speaking to His Beloved battered friend, Elijah. And so, He speaks very differently. And so, what’s the situation that Elijah is in at that point? So there’s a passage which was omitted in the passage we read today, but it’s at that same part where Elijah is where the Lord says, “What are you doing here, Elijah” and Elijah says, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, jealous or zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts, for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, the very covenant which happened on that same mountain. Now they have turned away from it, they have thrown down Your altars and they have slain Your profits with the sword.” The very ones that the Lord was sending as prophets to speak to them, they have killed, “and I even I only am left and they’re seeking my life, to take it away.” So, idolatry is triumphing. King Ahab has turned away from the Lord. He has married a pagan Queen, Jezebel. And now he’s worshipping her idol bow, her idol, which is a demonic idol. So, they’re worshipping demonic spirits, and that’s unleashing the power of the devil in Israel. And so, the rich and the powerful are imposing this idolatry. And Elijah is calling the people back to fidelity. But Jezebel the queen has sworn to kill him. And so that’s why he had to flee. And so, Elijah had this long journey, long, lonely journey into the desert. And he’s worn out. And he’s confused. He doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do. Now, his options have disappeared. And it’s not clear to him what God wants. And so, he’s extremely discouraged. He says, “Lord, it is enough, take away my life. I am no better than my fathers.” He seemed like he feels like a failure, like there’s nothing left for him. And do you ever feel like that, overwhelmed by the power of evil, lonely, feeling lonely and outnumbered and confused about what you’re supposed to do, and discouraged? And I think there’s a lot of people feeling that right now, especially right now with all that we’re going through, this long trial, which is dragging on and on. And so, it’s in that situation, that God whispers to Elijah, a tiny whispering sound. Another translation says a still small voice. And so, in this is what follows in the passage that God gives Elijah clear instructions, where to go, and who to anoint King, and who to anoint prophet. And so, God doesn’t immediately change everything, but He gives Elijah the next steps that he needs to take. And oftentimes, that’s the way God treats us. He doesn’t always change everything the way we would want. But He wants to give us the next steps, what we need to know right now. And then, God says, because so many, most of the people of Israel have turned away. But He says, “Yet I will leave 7000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed, have not bound to bow and every mouth that has not kissed him.” So, God is leaving a remnant, a small remnant that has been faithful, small, but very important. And it says of knees that have not bound to bow. And so, it’s striking in our society tonight, that ever there’s so much controversy about bending the knee, taking the knee. And those who some I think very courageously have resisted that pressure, saying, I will only bow the knee to my God and Savior. And so, we’re seeing this God who sometimes manifest Himself in very overwhelmingly powerful ways, but here is speaking quietly, whispering in a very subtle way. When do we whisper? You know, first of all, you only whisper to someone who’s close, right? They have to be close; you can’t whisper if you’re at the other edge of the Mission, you can’t whisper to them. So, the person has to be close. And we whisper a lot of times when we have something that’s secret, that we don’t want everyone to know, but we want the special person to know. And also, whispering is a way of expressing tenderness and intimacy, love, love naturally whispers. And I think all of that is here in this in passage. It’s the Lord who is wanting Elijah to know that He’s very close to him. And that because he’s been faithful, the Lord can reveal His secret to him and revealing it as in His love and tenderness. There is a passage which I’ve often quoted from the Lord to Saint Faustina, “when you reflect on what I tell you in the depths of your heart,” what I tell you in the depths of your heart, “you profit more than if you had read many books.” And I think the Lord also meant to say and listen to many sermons. “If souls would only want to listen to My voice, when I’m speaking in the depths of their hearts, they will reach the peak of holiness in a short time.” And so that’s why there’s so much distraction from the evil one, so that we can’t hear what the Lord is saying to each one of us in the depths of your heart, calling us away from our idols. I don’t think none of us feel like idol worshipers. But a lot of times, there’s idols that creep into our lives. And one of the idols is our own attachment to our own opinions, to our way of understanding, to our way of thinking and doing. And God is calling us away from what is just human and into intimate union with Him. This is a favorite passage of the great mystics. You know, the Catholic Church has the greatest mystical tradition in the world. And it’s very sad, when so many people leave the Catholic Church because they’re thirsting for something more transcendent. And they’re looking maybe in Eastern religions or something, because they haven’t found that deep, that sense of transcendence and profound mystical intimacy, in our Church, and they should, because it’s been lived in our Church more than anyplace else, and this passage is a great example of that. And so, the Lord is inviting us into this mysterious, intimate union with Him, and that takes time. It’s often a gradual process of discovering what He is trying to say, to each one of us. It might help us to understand the sense of our lives and the events of our lives, and what the Holy Spirit is doing in your life, personally. And so, on this remote hillside here, outside on this remote hillside, here at this little Mission of Divine Mercy, it’s not that terrifying Mount Sinai, it’s where it’s a little hillside, here with our Blessed Mother. We want to take time at Mass and that’s why we try to not rush through Mass. Because more important than anything that I’ll say, is what the Holy Spirit Himself wants to say to you. And that’s why the times of silence are so important, in particular, the time of silence, like the quiet prayer of the Consecration, and then a quiet time after Holy Communion are so important, so that you can listen to the Lord whispering to you. What is needed at this time where there’s so much confusion and so much lies and manipulation, causing so much fear and anxiety in our society. It’s more important than ever, to be able to listen to the Lord’s whispering in the depths of our heart. What is the Lord whispering to you, right now, during this Mass?