by Ken Rolheiser
Recognizing God’s voice on life’s road

“Who wants to be brave enough to try to pick out their Dad's voice? Okay. Gerald. Thank you. Dad, can you come forward as well and let's have two other men.” 
Three men call the boy's name, “Gerald”, while Gerald has his back to them. They repeat his name and then I ask Gerald to identify his father. Gerald identifies his father without hesitation.

In this exercise during a homily on the Good Shepherd Father Brendan McGuire illustrates the importance of recognizing God’s voice. If we are close to God’s love, we will recognize his voice. 

I have written several columns on hearing God’s voice and its impact on our daily lives. In “You can hear God calling” I quote Neil Diamond’s Song “And the grass won’t pay no mind” which echoes the joy and beauty of living in love and in nature. 

Listen easy / You can hear God callin'/ Walking barefoot by a stream.
Eden is around us in nature’s beauty daily. How many wonderful years God gives us to enjoy his gifts of family and loved ones!

When we had stopped listening to God, he sent his son as a brother in the flesh to bring us back to our common Father. God’s mercy is his greatest gift! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

“Whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life.” (John 5:24). A realization we should have is that we can have eternal life now. If we believe in Jesus, we have “passed from death to life”, from the slavery of sin to the freedom of Christ. 

What is this incredible gift of eternal life now? We were created by God the Father, and we are loved eternally in Christ. And it means that today we are called by Christ to be disciples and have a part in all his glory. 

When we were unable to help ourselves, Christ looked at us and loved us. He prayed for us in Gethsemane and offered himself on the Cross to redeem our natures; so that our innocence could be restored, and so that we could again be in that state of Eden where we can enjoy delight in a world that God created and saw that it was good. 

Pride is what often keeps us from God’s open arms. We are often arrogant in our sin and are too self-sufficient to hear God calling us back to grace. St Bernard said, “The three most important virtues are humility, humility and humility!”

 More incredibly God is ready to forgive us and forgive us and forgive us, even when He knows we will falter again. As we continue our life’s journey, may the “Lord have mercy” song stay with us as we “find ourselves again”:

“Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night

Kyrie eleison, where I'm going, will you follow?
Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light.” 
(Mr. Mister 1985). 

God is close. When we drive down a highway and green fields surround us on a sunny day, we can feel really close to the Creator. If we listen really, really closely with our hearts, we can hear Jesus say, “I am the Good Shepherd.”

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