Reflecting on Genesis 12:1-4a
All we ask you, God, is to speak as clearly to us as you did to Abram. Tell us to get up and wander to a new land. We’ll pack today. Send us down to Egypt during a famine and we’ll book our flight. Show up at our door with two angels at your side and we’ll rush to make a huge meal for you. Just speak to us, God. We’re so confused.
How does one discern the will of God? God speaks to us through our own history, our memory, our understanding. St. Ignatius of Loyola counsels us to notice what gives us peace, what gives us energy, what makes us unhappy, or burdened with guilt. To paraphrase the old physical therapist joke, Does it hurt when you are cynical, or selfish, or lazy? Then stop doing that.
Does it feel good when you end a conversation that is sliding into gossip and meanness? Do that some more. Does your spirit rejoice when you are the first to apologize, or to reach out for reconciliation? I suspect you have wandered into the very heart of God.
Like Abraham and Sarah, we sojourn in a land that God unveils to us throughout our lives. It’s a land marked by mistakes and bitter regrets, but shot through with grace and gradual healing. Pay attention to what makes you truly happy, truly peaceful. Abraham, at 75, lived one hundred more years after he discerned God’s call. Let’s all keep listening.
At what times do you feel the most connected with God?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).