Saturday, December 29, 2012

To Avoid All That Prevents...

We are coming to the end of one year and the start of another.  It's a time when many of us stop and look into our own selves, engaging in a bit of "spiritual checking up."  How am I doing in my efforts to live for God?  How is my prayer life?  How are things in my "cloistered heart?"

I had not given much thought to any such inventory this year.   And then I came face to face with the following sentences.  I am not overstating things when I say that these stopped me in my tracks.  If I could have one set of questions to help me discern God's Voice, and whether or not any particular inspirations are from Him (or from whomever else), I think this would be it...  

"Have I grown familiar with the Voice of Christ?  
Do I recognize it in the depths of my heart, 
urging me on to give Him all He asks of me? 

Is there any other voice with which I am more familiar, 
     any voice discordant with the Voice of Christ?

Is there a voice urging me to assert my rights?

Is there a voice crying out that I have been wronged, 
     treated unfairly, unjustly?

Is there a voice bidding me to seek praise and notice and appreciation?  

Is there a voice urging me to go along the road of least resistance, 
     discouraging me in my efforts to become spiritual?

And what is my Divine Master saying all this time? ...

He could not be heard amid all this confusion, 
     for His Voice is sweet and soft and low.

His gentle voice is heard only by the soul who listens
     and who, in consequence, 

     applies herself 
     to avoid all that prevents
her hearkening to that low, soft Voice."

(from "Listening to the Indwelling Presence," compiled by a Religious, Pellegrini, Australia, 1940, p. 60)

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Painting by James Abbot McNeill Whistler

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