Thursday, January 15, 2009

Daily - 1/15/09

1 Samuel 3:1-11

1 During the time young Samuel was minister to the LORD under Eli, a revelation of the LORD was uncommon and vision infrequent.

2 One day Eli was asleep in his usual place. His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see.

3 The lamp of God was not yet extinguished, and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was.

4 The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, "Here I am."

5 He ran to Eli and said, "Here I am. You called me." "I did not call you," Eli said. "Go back to sleep." So he went back to sleep.

6 Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli. "Here I am," he said. "You called me." But he answered, "I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep."

7 At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD, because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.

8 The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time. Getting up and going to Eli, he said, "Here I am. You called me." Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.

9 So he said to Samuel, "Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'" When Samuel went to sleep in his place,

10 the LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, "Samuel, Samuel!" Samuel answered, "Speak, for your servant is listening."


This is the bulk of the first reading for this coming Sunday.

We had a great discussion on this in the Wednesday night bible study. How does one discern God’s call? In the account above, Samuel was hearing something, but he couldn’t tell what it was. He needed to hear the call several times before God got through to him, and he needed the help of Eli to understand what was actually going on. There were eight of us at the study last night, and every single one of us could relate to this experience.

We got to chatting about how we as individuals discern God’s call. One thing that came clear is that it works differently for each of us. That makes complete sense, because discernment is very personal and varies with the individual. However, a few common thoughts emerged from the discussion:

- Prayer – to understand God's will, we need to ask Him what it is. This occurs through prayer, concentrating on God, and listening for his words.

- Obedience and submission – to discern what God’s will is for us on an individual level, it seems pretty important to first commit to what has been written about God’s will for all of us. If we can’t commit to that, we’re going to struggle to get any further down the road.

- Sacraments – concentrating on the Eucharist and Reconciliation brings you closer to God, and helps get you in the right frame of mind.

- Trust – we need to trust that God’s will is right for us. This typically happens through experience, over time. We don’t come out of the box trusting God. It’s something that is typically tried little by little, and over time we gain more and more confidence.