Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

In today’s first reading Eli has aged and become like an Appalachian fiddle: the older the wood the sweeter the sound. Isn’t that often the way with “professional holy men – and women”? Here Eli, much wiser for wear, helps young Samuel discern if and how God is calling him. He has become the spiritual guide in the discernment of Samuel’s vocation.

Eli’s advice to the confused young man also invites reflection.  “Go back to bed. Take your concerns to the pillow. It is there you will grow in patience, faith and hope.” The pillow is a great place to learn discernment. There we can learn not to give God an agenda. When he wants one to hear his call, he’ll hear it.

Discernment is not a once-in-a-lifetime way of choosing. God is with us as much in our activities as he is in our prayer, in our ordinary, menial tasks. Quiet aspirations directed to him during our working hours enables us to hear his call in every situation that come our way, to live in an atmosphere of quiet hope. It also enables us to take advantage of the peace we strive to find on our pillow. “I am with you. Do not be afraid. Go to sleep.”

January 13th, 2016