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Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: March 8, 2018
This is the second column in a 10-part series.
By Cackie Upchurch
Director of Little Rock Scripture Study
In a beloved passage from the Gospel of John, Jesus uses all types of shepherding imagery to speak of his own role for his followers. As the good shepherd he says, “I know mine and mine know me,” and a little later, “My sheep hear my voice: I know them and they follow me” (10:14, 27). Are we the sheep who know him and recognize his voice?
It is undeniable that every part of our day is filled with voices, competing messages, and, quite frankly, noise. How are we to distinguish God’s voice in the mix that is daily living?
A folk tale of sorts from our time tells of two men walking the streets of New York, one a native of the city and the other a visitor from America’s farmland. In the midst of honking horns and squealing brakes and vendors peddling their wares, the farmer thought he heard a cricket.
And to the dismay of the business man, the farmer actually stopped and listened more carefully until he found it hiding under a leaf in a street planter. When his walking companion marveled at the man’s hearing, the farmer replied, “It depends on what you’re listening for.”
God’s word in the pages of our Bibles helps to train us or condition us to listen for God’s voice. In its stories, patterns emerge in the interactions of our ancestors in faith and we might start to notice some characteristics of God’s voice.
Now most of us have not had the experience of God speaking directly to us. We might find it hard to relate to someone like Moses who is reported to have heard God’s voice in the thunderous encounter on Mount Sinai. We might crave that kind of surety but most of the time hearing God’s voice is a matter of discernment. God speaks to our hearts through many avenues.
Maybe a few tips taken from biblical stories and passages will help train us in how to listen:
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but perhaps it piques our curiosity and rouses us to pay attention lest we miss God’s call. It depends on what we’re listening for.
This article was originally published in Arkansas Catholic March 10, 2018. Copyright Diocese of Little Rock. All rights reserved. This article may be copied or redistributed with acknowledgement and permission of the publisher.