September 13, 2017 v4 p35
In the Old Testament Elijah is told to listen to for the voice of God. There is a fire, an earthquake, some thunderstorms, but he doesn’t hear him in any of those.
Over the past couple of months I was kind of getting a stale feeling in my prayer life. Through the faith studying I’ve done on my own I’ve learned that that is going to happen. That wasn’t really a surprise to me, because I’ve had the same type of staleness happen in my professional and personal life. What I also knew was that I needed to continue on the path I was following, because so far it’s been the right one. After some time I began to see my prayers being answered. That again told me that I was going in the right direction. I was still getting a stale feeling though.
Out of the resources I had found to study my faith I began to struggle to find new content. The videos I was finding were just the same ones I had already watched. It’s not a fault of the speakers. I was only able to find speeches online from the same year, just at different events. I would liken it to an author out on a speaking tour. They would give the same speech at every bookstore they appeared at. Generally the audience is different, but the subject matter is the same. So I began looking for older videos to watch. That didn’t really produce much content.
At some point I stumbled on some new speakers though. They came to me by looking back at the events I had watched videos for that featured the speakers I was initially looking for. YouTube is great for that. It really made me thing about how many possibilities I could come up with because the people I was listening to initially clearly weren’t the only speakers at those specific events. Especially the ones I knew were multiple days long.
For the most part my wife and I were watching mainly male speakers. That was partially because the first people I started looking toward for teaching were priests. We watched a lot of general session speeches, and men’s session speeches. I thought that they all had great content that was applicable to everyone, but that maybe my wife would enjoy listening to some female speakers. I’m always trying to soak in as much as I possibly can too, so a different perspective if always refreshing.
One of the best sources we’ve found for videos to watch has been the ones produced at The Steubenville Youth Conferences. These are a series of conferences around the country that are geared toward bringing the message of the Catholic Church to teens. There were 25 total conferences in 2017. Although these are geared towards high school aged kids the content is still great. Does it really matter what age the audience is when you’re speaking about faith? It applies to young and old the same way. That goes the same for men’s sessions versus women’s session.
Not only is that message important to all ages, but I feel it especially hits home for me. It was in my early high school ages that I really started to drift away from my faith. So for me listening to the speeches is kind of picking up where I left off. I still attended Mass on Sunday and went through my faith formation classes all through high school, but I wasn’t engaged. I was pretty much only there because I was told by my parents that I had to be. That wasn’t the right way for my evangelization to occur. I have a feeling that a lot of the people that I went through faith formation were experiencing the same thing.
The other day I finally came up to a video of a speech by a priest at the Grand Rapid’s Diocese Men’s Conference. He was pretty brash, and really didn’t hide it. He also didn’t care if you didn’t like his attitude. I totally get that though because his message was completely on point. I immediately started following him on social media and shared the video with my best friend, another Catholic. I mentioned that the video was filmed in Grand Rapids at the conference neither of us could find time to attend. He replied a day or two later that he had watched it and stared following him on social media as well.
I went and searched out more videos from that same priest. He actually gave two talks at the conference in Grand Rapids, and in the second one he mentioned one he had given earlier in 2017 at a conference in Atlanta. I found that one pretty quickly and put it in my que. Before watching that one I had some time to contemplate what his message was. I was beginning to see that he was going to be a good source for me to study. I could start to see that I needed to listen more.
I put a post out on social media about starting to get messages clearly and that I needed to be a better listener. I watched that third video by the same priest yesterday and it really hammered home what I was being told. I’ve always knew that I needed to continue to strengthen my faith actions, but I’ve always been afraid. I’ve been afraid of what others will say, which is kind of strange since I don’t seem to have any difficulties writing blog posts about it. I will admit the first few that spoke so much about my faith did kind of make me feel a little naked. But now I was receiving the clear message that what I thought I needed to do is exactly what I need to do.
I had another moment of clarity this morning during my morning prayers. I’ve been kinda-sorta practicing Lectio Divina prayers. I read the daily scripture readings, but haven’t taken too much time to meditate and pray on them for whatever reason. Today however was different. Not sure why or what prompted it, but did the meditation portion. Today’s readings seemed to fit in with what the video I watched yesterday was saying. During my meditation and prayer I was shown the next steps I must take in my faith formation, and I’m ready. For those of you keeping score I am planning to take my lunch break on Thursdays and drive to my church for Eucharistic Adoration, I am going to fast on Friday’s (not just during Lent), and I want to begin praying the Liturgy of the Hours. That sounds like pretty insignificant changes, but only if you don’t truly know what each of those entails.
Sometimes He shouts at you from the mountain tops, other times He comes through as a softer whisper after a huge storm. All that I know is right now I’m hearing and listening clearly.