In last week’s Gospel of the transfiguration we heard the mighty loud voice of God proclaiming ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him’. I’ve noticed that when God speaks in the Old Testament it can be a pretty spectacular affair. He appears to Moses in a burning bush (Ex 3:2-6), in thunder and lightning on Mt Sinai (Ex 19:16-17). But todays’ first reading is quite different it tells us of Elijah’s meeting with God on the mountain. Elijah goes up the mountain and waits for God. Earthquake and fire all pass by, buffeting and battering Elijah but God isn’t in these. Then after the onslaught there came the sound of a gentle breeze, and in that gentle breeze was the voice of God.
A few years ago I was on holiday staying in a log cabin in the grounds of Stanbrook Abbey the home of the Benedictine nuns. The cabin was set just outside a vast forest and one day I decided to take a walk through the forest to see just how big it was, I set off saying the rosary, it was a lovely warm day, bright blue sky, gentle breeze… Whilst in prayer I was struck by the beauty of creation, the sound of the breeze rustling the leaves on the trees, the crunch of the undergrowth underfoot and the sweet smell of the moss covering the path and the bottom of some of the trees. I could feel the presence of God through His creation, it was like all of the forest was bursting with life. Approaching the end of the rosary I came across a small hillock, “Perfect” I thought and used it as an impromptu kneeler, and I knelt down in the middle of the woodland and said the last decade of the rosary giving thanks to God for His gift of the created world and nature. There have been many instances in my faith journey when that quiet, small and gentle voice of God has spoken to me through situations or people, it strikes me that Gods voice is often that gentle voice of conscience, and with all gentle voices we need to be quiet in order to hear it. Once we cultivate that external silence by spending time in quiet prayer, meditation and in front of the Blessed Sacrament it becomes easier to be attentive to that voice of God in our daily lives.
Speak Lord your servant is listening.
1 Samuel 3:10