“How Do We Hear?”
By Father Frank Hernandez
To hear means to listen to someone or something. Hearing is one of the senses and an important one because we can hear all the sounds around us. Music, nature, voices, yelling and other sounds in our lives. We are able to communicate with one another and are able to respond. We can hear the loving words of our family or the yelling of a stranger or the music of a song that inspires us or the sound of a train as it passes by. Hearing makes it possible to be safe and listen to the world around us.
Hearing also applies to our faith, but it is a different type of hearing. None of us have heard the voice of the Lord directly, like when we hear the news and hear the reporter. To hear the Lord requires special listening and practice. The Lord speaks to us in a different way, He speaks to our hearts, our souls and our minds. To hear the Lord’s voice is hard for us to understand and difficult to interpret. But with practice and training we can learn to hear his voice.
In our daily lives, we hear many voices and sounds around us. This is also true in our hearts and minds. The best example of that is having the devil and angel guiding us in our decision. Pulling us one direction or the other. Hearing them when we are making a decision or confronted by a certain situation. At the end of the conversation, we make a decision, good or bad.
Hearing the Lord’s voice is difficult and to know if it is the true voice of the Lord is harder. I remember one evening in my seminary studies to priesthood, I was praying and meditation during an 8-day silent retreat about my vocation. During my prayer I asked the Lord a simple question; “Lord, do you love me?” When I finished, I answered my own question in my heart saying, “Yes I do love you,” but immediately after that I felt a small voice in my heart say one simple word, “Yes.” I knew that was the Lord’s answer and since that day I have never asked that question again.
Communicating with the Lord is hard. I am able to recognize His voice because I have practiced listening to the Lord. That is only possible through the personal relationship we are all called to have with Him; a relationship that is not easy to have. How do we listen to the Lord? We hear a voice in our heart sometimes and assume it is the Lord, but it is not. We have to work and create that time for us to listen to Him. He is always speaking to us, but us as humans do not take the time to hear His voice. How can we do better and leave space for the Lord to speak and for us to respond to His voice in our hearts?