Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

A woman closes her eyes in prayer during Eucharistic Adoration at Sts. Joseph and Paul Parish in Owensboro on Corpus Christi Sunday, June 11, 2023. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC

The Lord is speaking but are we listening?


Sometimes people need to get our attention and they blurt out, “listen.” When that happens our response is, “I need to hear this.” It could be listening to a teacher’s instructions, or listening to your parents or maybe a friend sharing something they want to make sure we hear. In a way, this is what is happening in the scene of the Transfiguration. The Father says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Sometimes we are so busy talking to God (like Peter) we forget that God wants us to listen because he wants to speak to us. But that begs a basic question: When it comes to hearing from God, do we want to hear from him?

It is easy to look at prayer as a one-way communication. However, if we look at prayer as us talking to God, we will miss God talking to us. We all know what it is like to talk with someone who talks but who never listens. It is frustrating. Likewise, God wants us to learn to listen to him. God has no problem communicating.  Over and over God interacts with people in a variety of ways. God spoke to Daniel through visions, Balaam through a donkey, Peter through a rooster, and of all things, he spoke to Moses out of a bush that was on fire! He is a God who says in Isaiah 28:23, “Give ear and hear my voice, pay attention and hear my word…”

When we are talking to God in prayer remember to give him a turn. Give God a chance to speak and when he speaks, listen to him. Learning to hear the Lord’s voice does not have to be complicated. But it does require some discipline to find a quiet place and to allow some time just listening.

Have you ever been in a crowded room where everyone is talking? Your spouse is in the room and if you listen very carefully, you can make out his or her distinctive voice. To everybody else who doesn’t know him or her, that voice would have blended into the cacophony, but because you know your spouse, you would recognize his or her voice. This is how we recognize God’s voice as well. Because we know God, we will recognize his voice even above life’s noise. The more we pause and listen for his voice, the more we will become familiar with it and the more our ears will tune in to it.  

Deacon Jay W. VanHoosier is the Director of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Owensboro. For more information visit, email [email protected] or call (270) 852-8324.

Originally printed in the August 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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