We need prophets and people with vision. The Jewish scriptures tell us that, but prophets and dreamers need to be encouraged. Eli the old priest in the sleepy temple at Shilo first misinterprets Hannah praying for a son. When she finally has Samuel, she sends him to the temple with hopes he will understand his calling. Parents are the first guides for their children; they know them.
Young Samuel hears God calling in the night but it’s a very indistinct call; he’s a young boy and doesn’t know what to make of it. The old priest Eli doesn’t help much at first. No one’s there, he says, go back to sleep.
Finally, the old man recognizes God’s calling the young boy. Is this an early example of “the generation gap,’ old not understanding the young ? The story’s not just about a young boy finding God; it’s also about someone from an older generation helping him discover. Was the old priest too concerned with himself to be bothered with this young boy? Had he lost hope in the youth of his day?
After awhile, the old priest gives Samuel the right advice: “Go to sleep, and if you are called say ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’”
Wise advice. Believe that God speaks to you. Believe, even in the night. Listen humbly like a servant. Don’t let your own ideas hide you. Listen; hear what God wants to tell you. Pray.
Be with me today, O Lord,
May all I do today begin with you, O Lord.
Plant dreams and hopes within my soul, revive my tired spirit, be with me today.
May all I do today continue with your help, O Lord.
Be at my side and walk with me. Be my support today.
May all I do today reach far and wide, O Lord.
My thoughts, my work, my life: Make them blessings for your kingdom;
Let them go beyond today.
Today is new, unlike any other day, for God makes each day different.
Today God’s everyday grace falls on my soul like abundant seed,
Though I may hardly see it.
Today is one of those days Jesus promised to be with me, a companion on my journey.
And my life today, if I trust him, has consequences.
My life has a purpose…
“ I have a mission…I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. God has not created me for naught…Therefore I will trust him. What ever, where ever I am, I can never be thrown away. God does nothing in vain. He knows what he is about.” (John Henry Newman)
Our parishes, dioceses, religious communities, families – temples where prophets come from, where the young find vision– can become sleepy places. “Boring, boring” people say.
Speak, Lord, and help us to listen.