Reflection for Thursday, January 17, 2013: Memorial of St. Anthony, Abbot.

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Hauser, Dick, S.J.
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"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."||We Christians have always believed that God communicates with us personally. This communication often involves our vocations -- our call from God to serve the Kingdom of God in God's preferred way. And this call may involve a radical change of life - witness Jesus' call to St. Paul while on the way to Damascus to persecute Christians.|Our tradition is full of stories of God's calling individuals to specific vocations in service to the Kingdom. Today's feast provides the occasion to recall one of the more famous calls - God's call to St. Anthony the Abbot.|While listening to the Gospel reading in church, young Anthony was struck by the invitation of Jesus to the rich young man: "Go sell what you possess and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven."|The words resonated deeply in Anthony's heart, and he became convinced that they were addressed to him personally. Anthony was eighteen and his parents had recently died and had left him their considerable estate; he was engaged in managing the estate. But Anthony responded to the call, sold all his possessions and withdrew to the solitude of the desert, spending the rest of his long life living as a hermit.|"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts." Anthony heard God's voice and responded.|And we Christians believe that God's voice can be heard not only directing us to our vocations but also directing us daily in living our vocations.|Through the Holy Spirit God dwells in our hearts making us temples of the Spirit. We receive the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit -- wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, piety, fortitude, fear of the Lord. When we listen to our hearts in prayerful silence, God's voice rises up and guides our daily lives.|I believe that basic challenge facing us Christians in our very noisy world is building rhythms of silence and solitude into our lives enabling us to attend to God's presence within our hearts. In attending to this presence we attend to God's voice.|Unfortunately many of us irrationally resist listening and responding to God's voice fearing it will somehow thwart our happiness and fulfillment. But Jesus' wish for us is that his joy may be in us and that our joy may be complete. We Christians have the comfort of knowing that following the voice of God will lead us to the deepest peace and joy possible in this world as well as to our most effective service to God.|Haven't we Christians always named this voice God's providence!|"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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