1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20
The prophet Isaiah wrote: "In quiet and in trust your strength lies." (Isaiah 30:15). As people of prayer and reflection and then action, we know the truth of his words. Young Samuel, sleeping in God’s temple in Shiloh, was perhaps just getting used to his surroundings, to helping the elderly Eli, when he heard God’s voice. How often when we settle ourselves down, after a busy day, as we reflect on the day’s (or week’s or year’s) events, we too hear God’s voice. I can’t help but smile whenever I read this selection from the first book of Samuel. Eli perhaps thought that Samuel was simply having trouble getting to sleep, before he realized God was calling the lad.
All of us can point to quiet nights when we heard God’s voice. I recall when I heard God’s voice at the St. John’s Catholic Newman Center in my college years….a moment I’ll always treasure.
How much more we need those quiet moments after (or even during) much busy-ness…in raising a family, in work situations, in ministry. Jesus himself sought and needed those quiet moments and hours with God: "Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed." After steeling himself with the sweet intimacy of enjoying his Father’s presence without interruption, Jesus goes out to heal and drive out demons.
Our community here in Houston has been reading and reflecting on John Allen’s
book THE FUTURE CHURCH. In the first chapter, he quotes Fr. James Okoye: "….the implicit Christology of many Africans is that of "Christus Victor", whose resurrection invested him with definitive power to vanquish the dark forces in the spiritual world…." Dark forces, as we know too well (racism, corporate and personal greed among many others) still exist in our world.
The power of God that worked through Samuel and Jesus is still working through us today. May we know the sweet intimacy with God that Jesus experienced, and like him, announce God’s kingdom far and wide.
Fr. Bob Bovenzi, C.P. is stationed in Houston, Texas.