Thursday of the Third Week
Holy Spirit, help me to hear your voice in the all the sounds and silences of today. Simon Bishop SJ
Entering into prayer
Listen to the sounds you can hear around you.
If you are indoors, allow yourself to notice sounds without and within the room.
Identify each sound as you are able.
Gently, slowly, without judgement, focus your attention on each one.
Return your attention back to where you were before.
If a sudden sound or distraction occurs, acknowledge it and name it. Don’t try to ignore it.
When ready, become aware of the sound of your own breathing.
Through the sounds, be attentive to the invitation of God, who dwells in creation...
Today's Scripture (Jeremiah 7: 23-28)
These were my orders: Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you, and you will prosper. But they did not listen, they did not pay attention; they followed the dictates of their own evil hearts, refused to face me, and turned their backs on me. From the day your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until today, day after day I have persistently sent you all my servants the prophets. But they have not listened to me, have not paid attention; they have grown stubborn and behaved worse than their ancestors. You may say all these words to them: they will not listen to you; you may call them: they will not answer. So tell them this, ‘Here is the nation that will not listen to the voice of the Lord its God nor take correction. Sincerity is no more, it has vanished from their mouths.’
Food for thought
The prophet Jeremiah lived in very turbulent political times. During his life, Babylonia succeeded Assyria as the dominant power in the Middle East. Jeremiah was a witness to the return to worship of the Lord, instituted by the Judean king Josiah; after Josiah’s death, Jeremiah also witnessed the return of many to paganism. Yet true to his Covenant – ‘I will be your God and you shall be my people’ (Leviticus 26:13) – the Lord sends Jeremiah to help the people in Judah. What can this difficult political situation tell us about our world today? Are there parallels to be drawn? Is the Lord continuing to be true to his covenant to us? Who are the prophets he sends us?
Suggestions for prayer
What immediate reactions come to me as I read Jeremiah’s words? Maybe I feel I have nothing in common with these ancient peoples, or think that they received their just desserts for not listening to the Lord. Or perhaps I respond in another way? I acknowledge my feelings and thoughts. I try not to judge them. Perhaps I feel prompted to look at myself and at the way I respond to what seems to me to be the will of God. Do I listen to him? When in the last few days have I felt his presence in my life?
In the evening, I might want to reflect on my day and bring to mind the times when I felt him close to me, but also the times when I turned my back or did not want to accept that he was near. For these times, I give thanks or express my sorrow. I look around me … at my family, my work colleagues, my community, my church. How far do they listen to the Lord? How could following ‘the way marked out for them’ help them to make a positive difference?
After a few moments of pondering, I turn to the Lord and tell him what is in my heart, what comforts me, what I find difficult. I ask for his help, confident that he loves and understands me as I am. I listen to him. I conclude my prayer with a slow, reverent sign of the cross.
How are you going to respond today?
Today, I might want to be more consciously aware of the presence of God in me and around me by listening to others with a sincere heart and paying attention to their needs. My desire will be not to turn my back to the Lord, but to follow him more closely and love him more nearly day by day.
Image for the day
- How do you feel about this image?
- Have you ever felt that others did not listen to you?
- Perhaps you are aware that you do not always listen to God? Talk to Jesus about that.
Examen (review of prayer)
Sit or stand and let God look at you. Breathe in God’s love. Breathe out into God how you are right now. Ask for God’s light as you look over the day. What makes you glad? Breathe it in.
What makes you sad? Let yourself feel it. Do not be afraid. Breathe in God’s love.
What do you need to help you? Let God know.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, Amen.