By Kathleen Bordo Crombie
“This is my Son, the Beloved;
with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” .~Matthew 17:5b
Years ago, I went on a week-long silent retreat to listen and hear the voice of God. The community of sisters, who opened their doors to me, lived in a convent that was out in the middle of nowhere. And I mean nowhere! There was nothing else around for miles except row after row of cornstalks during a very hot summer. Their chapel was small yet stunning in its simplicity. There were no pews, chairs, or kneelers as usually found in most churches, so I stood there for a moment to get my bearings. Then, following the sisters’ lead, I grabbed a carpet square from the stack near the entrance, placed it on the floor, sat down, and prepared quietly for Mass.
Following Their Lead
The sisters sang in unison, and the Mass was beautiful. The surprise came when everyone suddenly got down on the floor and prostrated themselves at the Consecration. At first, I was shaken by what had just happened – it totally caught me off guard. We certainly never did that at my parish back home. But by God’s grace, I quickly understood the humility involved and assumed the posture to worship in communion with the sisters. By following their lead, I experienced a physical, emotional, and deep spiritual reverence for the Lord in a way I had never experienced before.
“Listen to Him”
In today’s Gospel, Peter, James, and John were led up the mountain by Jesus. They, too, were out in the middle of nowhere, and no doubt, it was a very hot day in Israel. They were shaken by the voice of God in a cloud saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” What was their response? In hearing the voice of God, “they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But [then] Jesus came and touched them, saying ‘Rise, and do not be afraid.'”
Jesus says the same to us, His disciples, every single day! It is in hearing God speak to us and rising from a place of humility that we shake our fears and anxieties to go in haste to serve the Lord. That’s what we do as disciples of Jesus Christ: we believe, we follow, and we serve!
Lord God, let us hear your voice and rise with humbled hearts to serve you always. Let us shake off any fear we may be experiencing and confidently internalize that, as your disciples; we need not be afraid. May you hear our prayer today and grant this petition. Amen.
Call to Action
The purpose of a silent retreat is to block out the world so we can hear God. Have you ever been on a silent retreat?
Pray about it! Maybe God is calling you to schedule one soon. It might also be the perfect time to prostrate yourself at the altar in the presence of God.
Remember: humble yourself and do not be afraid.
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