"The Lord came and revealed His presence, calling out as before, 'Samuel, Samuel!' Samuel answered, 'Speak, for Your servant is listening.' " —1 Samuel 3:10
In Samuel's time, the "Church" was not hearing God. "A revelation of the Lord was uncommon and vision infrequent" (1 Sm 3:1). In addition to being spiritually deaf, it was spiritually blind and asleep (1 Sm 3:2). This pitiful condition of God's people was nauseating to God (see Rv 3:16), but the Lord did not leave them. The Lord was still present in a special way through the ark of the covenant, and "the lamp of God was not yet extinguished" (1 Sm 3:3). The Lord was not only present but active. He repeatedly called the boy, Samuel, giving him such a powerful gift of prophecy that not a word of Samuel's was without effect (1 Sm 3:19). Through the prophetic ministry of Samuel, the whole Israelite nation turned to the Lord within twenty years (1 Sm 7:2).
We likewise may feel the Church is dead. We claim that the Church makes us sick, and we're trying to justify our leaving the Church. However, the Lord is calling us to stay and to prophesy to the dry bones until they begin to rattle and come to life (Ez 37:4ff).
Jesus is calling children like Samuel, old folks like Abraham and Moses, persecutors like Saul, businessmen like Matthew, and teenagers like Mary. Don't quit. Quit saying: "Listen, Lord, Your servant is speaking," and instead say: "Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening" (see 1 Sm 3:10).
Prayer: Father, I resolve to quit complaining about the Church and start being a fully active member of it.
Promise: "Let us move on to the neighboring villages so that I may proclaim the good news there also. That is what I have come to do." —Mk 1:38
Praise: Instead of finding fault with her pastor, Liz committed to fast and pray for him.
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 27, 2011
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