Listening to God - by Sr. MJ

It’s such a beautiful experience when you feel like God is speaking directly to you.

If you have a relationship with God, then you are aware that God can speak to us in many ways – through the Bible and other literature, poetry, friends, prayer, music, etc. One great way to deepen your relationship with God through Scripture is via the practice of Lectio Divina.

Lectio Divina, literally ‘divine reading,’ is an ancient Christian practice of praying the Scriptures. During Lectio, a person listens to someone read or reads the text of the Bible with the ‘ear of the heart,’ as if he or she is in conversation with God, and God is suggesting the topics for discussion. As you read through a passage three or four times and think about what God might be saying to you or what the passage says about God or our world, you become deeply engaged with the text and God.

If you don’t already have something planned, this would be a great morning practice for the season of Lent.

Recently, I decided to do Lectio in the morning, with the Gospels. After reading part of Matthew  chapter 3 several times and meditating on what God might be saying to me, the passage that stood out was verse 8, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” It was not readily apparent to me what God was saying or how this applied to my life at this time, so I decided to write it down and keep it with me to refer to throughout the day.

Three hours later, I was in my car on my way to an event. I was thinking about the day ahead and several complaints and judgements were going through my mind. When I noticed that I was being so judgmental, I said a little prayer and asked God to help me repent of this bad habit. As I was praying, I suddenly had an epiphany moment. The scripture passage from earlier that morning came clearly to mind and I had such an overwhelming feeling that this was the very reason that passage spoke to me during Lectio. If I was truly to repent, then I needed to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance”! Stop criticizing, condemning, and complaining as Dale Carnegie would say.

It’s not that easy to get rid of a bad habit, but what did come to me in that moment was a way to start - every time I catch myself criticizing, for example, I could reframe my criticism into something positive or at least just notice that I am criticizing and stop.

As I continued on to my destination, I had a huge smile on my face and was in awe at how God works in our lives. Even though I have had these kinds of “ah ha!” connections with God on numerous occasions, they never cease to wow and amaze me.

Anytime you wish, you can quiet your mind and hear God. God IS speaking. Are you listening?