The Scriptures from both Thursday and Friday dealt with listening to and/or hearing God. On Thursday, the Optional Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes was celebrated and the gospel used was the one of the wedding at Cana. There, Mary tells the waiters, "Do whatever he tells you." We, too, must be ready, must be humble enough to "do whatever He tells us." Listening in the sense of obeying.
On Friday, we had the scripture where Jesus heals the deaf man and allows him first to hear and then to speak. Ephphatha! (Be opened!) Listening in the sense of actually hearing. We must be open to what Jesus is trying to tell us. First we listen; then we speak. Is it just me, or is that easier said than done? No, sometimes we all tell God to "shut up" by ignoring what He is trying to tell us or telling Him how things should be.
I can remember a conversation about 25 years ago with my best friend. "How can you hear God?" I asked in frustration. "He doesn't speak English!" I wanted to hear God, but He wouldn't speak so that I could hear him, I thought. Remembering where my life was 25 years ago, it is more likely that what He was telling me was not what I wanted to hear, and so I just turned a deaf ear to it. Selective hearing, you know.
But how do we hear God? My own kids have asked me that question, and I struggled to answer it with something that made sense to them. God speaks to us through His Word - proclaimed and preached. He speaks to us through other people - especially the people in our lives who tell it like it is. He speaks to us through events. One of the defining points in my life was 9-11. Think God used that event to reach me? You bet! But also when everything just seems to fall into place for a certain outcome. Or conversely, when nothing seems to work out!
He speaks to us through listening prayer. To me, that is the most difficult. Throughout my life, there have been "ideas" that have occurred to me that must have only come from God, but those didn't happen on any kind of frequent basis, and I'm sure God speaks more often than once every 5 years or so. At this point in my life, I am trying more to tune into and listen to those little things that we all "hear" - whether it is calling or emailing someone, having maintenance done on the car, or volunteering for something. It is definitely a work in progress, and sometimes I do have to remind God that He might need to send a neon sign or speak really loudly.
Then there is the "do whatever he tells you" aspect. The obedience. Right now, there are a couple of things that He is telling me to do. And yet, because of my own stubborness, I have not yet picked up that cross to carry it. Something to work on for Lent.