How often do we hear people say, ‘Have you changed your mind?’ Sometimes this is not an easy thing to do. There is the matter of pride, habit, even family and tradition. Each one of us is called daily to change some aspect of our life, to take more exercise, to eat healthily. Requests to change come through the media, our family, friends and others.
But often we receive a gentle nudge to do something good: to help others by volunteering, by donating to charitable causes, by speaking a word of praise instead of criticism.
The rough treatment by God of St Paul, as told in the Bible, when he was journeying to Damascus to hunt down Christians , was not a gentle nudge. Paul was thrown to the ground, blinded and heard a voice from heaven asking why he was persecuting Him. The voice was that of Jesus. Paul then was changed completely to serve Jesus.
Others, perhaps ourselves, have experienced gentler calls. St Ignatius of Loyola in the 16th century, recuperating from a serious wound received in battle was gently changed from dreams of war and chivalry to becoming a soldier of Christ. He taught others to recognise the voice of God and distinguish that from other feelings and impulses.
So, what should we do? Why not say ‘Speak, Lord, I am listening’. If we are quiet we may hear that ‘still, small voice of calm’.
John Cairns, King’s Lynn Catholic Church