Thought for the week, 14 January 2018

By Christine McAteer

A theme from today’s readings is how to recognise how God is calling us. This is not always obvious. Samuel had never been taught to know God and Nathaniel was a cynic. They both failed to perceive that God was calling them until helped by their guides. It is through other people that we first learn to recognise the call of God. Sometimes our guides point us towards God at a cost to themselves. Eli sensed that Samuel would have a difficult message to pass on to him and Philip was ridiculed. Many years ago, a Taize brother gave some tips on how to discern a call: Firstly it is difficult to ‘hear’ God because God’s voice can be ‘soft’. God does not force anyone to follow but invites us by name; “Come and see.” To hear God it is important to attend to our feelings—including the feeling of desire. These are not the noisy feelings of immediate desires but the deeper longings of our hearts. Feelings may be a complicated mixture of anxiety and joy. God will then give us a task but we may not always have what we need to complete the task. This gives the Holy Spirit a chance to work. Finally God takes us seriously. No one is too young or too long in the tooth to be called by God.