Respond to that ‘tiny whisper’

By Pat Wettstein | August 7, 2014

The wind roars, the earth shakes, the sea is raging! I certainly would not want to be part of that loud, scary experience. But isn’t that what some of our lives are about? We are surrounded by sound that can easily be transformed into noise. I cannot count the many times that I have entered a department store and every section had its own music blaring. More often than not I just left and shopped elsewhere.

The first reading and the Gospel are a reminder that while our perception of God may bring to mind obvious sounds and images, that is far from the true picture. Just take a look at the message of very last verses of the first reading — after Elijah looked for God in the wind, the earthquake and fire, he found God in the “tiny, whispering sound.” When Elijah realized his error, he hid his face in a cloak.

How many times have we asked God for that big sign, you know, the one that hits us in the face and we can say, “Yes, Lord, I believe.” We read in Scripture the many times that Jesus went away to find solitude, an indication of the importance of silence and quiet prayer. There are many parishes that have adoration chapels that allow one to have one uninterrupted hour with God — no radio, no TV, no outside distractions — to listen to that “tiny whisper.”

My own personal story is one of quiet realization. I resisted going to the chapel, much less signing up for that one hour a week. When was I going to find that time? The quiet sound of God’s voice came to me at the 2012 mission hosted by my home parish. We had numerous speakers over three days and a social after each event. At the social on that first evening was a table display of the adoration chapel and the open hours that needed to be covered. I took that information with me and over those three days prayed about it. Just like a light switch, this idea of dedicating an hour seemed like a no-brainer. I wondered what took me so long to hear that whisper.

Each of us has our own way of praying and listening to God. It may be the adoration chapel; or it may be the quiet confines of our home; or it may be in the inspiring nature of God’s creation. There are also many retreat opportunities in the diocese that afford us the opportunity to reflect and listen. Whichever way speaks to you and encourages you to set aside time to hear that “tiny whisper” is what is most important and most pleasing to God.

Wettstein is director of music and liturgy at Good Shepherd Parish, Chilton.

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