“As we live in this season of Advent, awaiting the coming of the Lord, we might examine our hearts to see if they are truly open. Are we open to God speaking to us in the language of everyday events? Are we willing to hear God’s admonitions and to accept God’s guidance, or are we happier to justify our selfish behaviors and chart our own way in life? May the Lord find in us hearts that are open and ready to receive him, whenever and however he chooses to come to us.”
-Br. David Vryhof, “Brother, Gve us a Word,” Society of Saint John the Evangelist, December 10th, 2018. SSJE.org
This is our daily question. Are we following our will or God’s will? Are we listening to God or are we listening to ourselves and what promotes ourselves and our own self-interest? My experience is it is so hard to know, and I have learned to listen cautiously to those who tell us they know exactly what we are to do. I usually do not know if what I am doing is God’s will until much later.
So, what do we do? We try to put ourselves in position to hear God’s will. This means being silent, practicing spiritual exercises, being in thin places where the spiritual and physical world seem to have only a thin membrane between them, being in community with other spiritual seekers who share experiences, studying scripture and stories of those before us in our own religious traditions, worshipping in community.
My experience also is that when I feel or know the fruit of the spirit after discernment, this is a sign that I am being guiding by the Christ within, the Holy Spirit, the God of our understanding. (Galatians 5:22 love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.)
This is not a walk we do alone. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who have been before us and who are now with us to guide us.