Joyce Mancinelli
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The still small voice of God...but how to hear it? In today's scripture reading, we heard how Samuel was called--literally called!--loudly enough to wake him from sleep. Called three times before Eli figured out who whas doing the calling.

The long history of the church is full of accounts of those who have heard the call of God loudly and clearly in their lives. Saints by the dozen. Those whose lives have taken them into the mission field or into a monastery or into a particular career. Some have heard it as a clarion call, others as a conviction held from earliest childhood.

And then there's the rest of us. When do we make time to listen for the word of God? Are we hanging on waiting for a thunderbolt? Do we listen in prayerful silence and hear nothing at all? Can we even be certain that the call we think we have heard is from God and not our own desires? 

Even Thomas Merton had his doubts. In Thoughts in Solitude he writes: "My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it."

It would be very easy to tie oneself in theological and philosophical knots and end up nowhere. Like Merton, we have to trust. And one step we can take--now, don't put it off!--is to make time amidst the busyness of our lives to be aware, to open our hearts and minds and wait, in hope and in trust, for the still small voice of God.