Did you know that God is constantly speaking to us in a variety of ways? From what He tells us we can gain tremendous wisdom, insight, and direction for our life and the lives of others, but to gain this we must do one thing: listen.
It is understood that God has communicated with humanity since the beginning of creation starting with Adam and Eve. He has revealed many important messages to us since then, including the many truths found in scripture and the countless other messages given to us throughout history. What’s more is He is still speaking to us today.
One of my favorite saints, St. Terese of Lisieux, is a beautiful example of God’s continued communication with humanity. Due to her many beautiful and insightful writings, she has been named a Doctor of the Church, which is a title given to important teachers of the faith throughout history to highlight the importance of their teachings and to lead followers of Christ to listen to what they say. Therefore, we know to take note and do our best to imitate St. Terese as she writes about how God speaks to her and guides her. She described in detail how God spoke to her when she said:
“I know and have experienced that ‘the Kingdom of God is within us,’ that our Master has no need of books or teacher to instruct a soul. The Teacher of teachers instructs without sound of words, and though I have never heard Him speak, yet I know He is within me, always guiding and inspiring me; and just when I need them, lights, hitherto unseen, break in upon me. As a rule, it is not during prayer that this happens, but in the midst of my daily duties.”
While some people throughout history have reported that they have heard the audible voice of God, we see with St. Terese this is not always the case. He often speaks to us within our minds and hearts. How then can we imitate St. Terese and pick up on what He is saying?
I have come up with some suggestions that we can use to help us better listen to God’s voice in our daily life when He speaks to us.
1. Cultivate an awareness of the Presence of God.
Begin each day with the understanding that God is always with you. Call His presence to your mind throughout your day to keep this awareness in front of your mind. You can do this while you work, in the car, mowing the lawn, applying make-up, taking a shower, or eating. The more we remember that God is with us, the easier it is to hear from Him.
2. Believe that He is speaking to you.
Seems simple, but if we want to listen to God, we need to believe that He wants to speak with us. This truth is objective. It’s absolutely possible that God can speak to humans, as we see in scripture and through saints like St. Terese, but it’s also subjective in a way. God is not just able to speak, but He wants to speak to you, even when you don’t feel worthy.
3. Observe how He speaks to others.
Study scripture to discover how God interacts with many of the notable figures such as Abraham, Moses, Samuel, and the other prophets in the Old Testament and then pay close attention to how Jesus speaks to His followers in the New Testament. This will help you get a sense of how God speaks to help you discern whether what you are getting is in fact from Him. There are also a lot of stories of the saints throughout history who have heard from God like St. Therese, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and St. Catherine of Siena.
While following these suggestions will lead us to better hear and discern the messages of God, I am sure there are many more. However, I am confident these three suggestions will help and plan on expanding further in parts two, three, and four of this blog series. Keep a look out for those blogs coming in the next few weeks!