In the first reading today, Elijah is looking for God. At first, he looks for Him in the wind, in an earthquake, and in fire. However, God was not in any of these noises. Instead, Elijah found God in a tiny whispering sound.
St. Ignatius of Loyola also speaks of what God's voice sounds like. In his seventh rule on the discernment of spirits St. Ignatius says the following: "In those who go on from good to better, the good angel touches such soul sweetly, lightly and gently, like a drop of water which enters into a sponge; and the evil touches it sharply and with noise and disquiet, as when the drop of water falls on the stone. " Elijah was not a person who was going from bad to good. Elijah was growing in holiness so he was going from "good to better." As a result, the voice of God was gentle for Elijah.
When we think of the voice of God, we often think of a voice that makes the earth tremble like thunder from the heavens. However, God's ordinary communication with those who love Him is very gentle.
At any given moment, there are three different sources of our thoughts, feelings, and desires. These three different sources are: 1) reflection 2) inspiration 3) temptation. We human beings have the capacity to purposefully recall past events from our memories. We call this capacity reflection. In essence, we are communicating with ourselves. As a result, the thoughts, feelings, and desires that we encounter when we are reflecting upon our memories do not cause us to be surprised.
The ordinary activity of God in our souls is something called inspiration. Sometimes we will have a thought, feeling or desire that surprises us with joy which St. Ignatius describes as "like a drop of water which enters into a sponge." Our souls rejoice when they are inspired by our guardian angel to follow God's will.
Lastly, the ordinary activity of the devil in our souls is something called temptation. Sometimes we will have a thought, feeling or desire that surprises us with horror, confusion, and disgust. We think: "Where on earth did that thought come from?" The answer is that it did not come from earth. It came from the evil one. It was a temptation.
Elijah left the cacophony of the world and entered into a cave to listen for God. We too are called to be aware of what is going on in our souls. We need to discern what are reflection, inspiration, and temptation. We need to reject temptation and reflect on our moments of inspiration. If we reject the devil and listen to God, like Elijah, we will be inspired to serve God with all our heart, soul and strength.
Fr. HolmerBACK TO LIST