Posted March 21, 2008
There’s a two~word epitaph on a small and inexpensive headstone of a lad buried in an obscure country cemetery in England. The words are: “Freddy!”-as if someone had called the boy’s name-and underneath, as if the boy had answered, was the one-word question-response: “Yes?” That simple dialogue epitaph epitomized the virtuous life of a youth who early on had learned to respond promptly and lovingly to God’s will.
This nearly unknown hero reminds me of another young lad who learned, with Eli’s help, to respond to the call of God. “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,” was Samuel’s answer to the call of the Lord (see I Samuel 3:9). But it was only after three bewildering calls that he learned to discern the Lord’s Voice. Becoming sensitized to it is a somewhat protracted learning process; it takes time for a sheep to become sensitized to hear and recognize the shepherd’s voice (see John 10:4). But ours is a truly patient Shepherd; he calls our name (with whispers rather than shouts) and waits for our “Yes?”
As our sensitivity grows, we learn not only to hear the whispered calls of the Lord but also to “answer the phone” more promptly. His whispers may come as subtle inspirations of grace, gentle leadings in prayer, or enticements to passionate gratitude. Once the grace-response habit is established, we learn to connect with God on a deeper, more constant level. “Pray continually,” admonishes the Apostle Paul. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thes 5:17-18).
“One-Minute Meditations for Busy People” by Fr. John H. Hampsch, C.M.F.