Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In The Silence, You Can Hear Him

                                         
                       
                 At Boyne Resort, Michigan, happy to do God's work 
                             by sharing the life of  St. Therese to kids at
                                       my latest book signing at the Marian Conference!






"Today, if  you hear His Voice, do not harden your hearts..."    Hebrews 3:15


Have you ever heard God talking to you? He does, you know, and He longs for you to listen.  Sometimes, we're so preoccupied with going here, doing that, that we don't hear it.  Others hear Him, but ignore what they hear.  But how can you listen, and really hear the Holy Spirit for yourself?  


You must be silent.  


This doesn't just mean taking the earbuds out of your ears or turning off the TV or computer.  Getting rid of all external noise is a start, of course, and very necessary.  But to really listen for God, you must also still your mind.  Think about God, and think about how much He loves you and wants to talk to you.  Be really, truly silent—with your ears and your heart.  


St. Therese was good at this.  She knew the importance of quieting the mind and listening for His Voice.  Sometimes we are so busy talking to ourselves or hearing unimportant chatter of the day from electronics or people around us that we aren't letting God get a word in edgewise.


Sometimes, though, God speaks to you when you least expect it, and aren't even prepared for it.  This happens a lot to me!


I love going to book signings and meeting readers.  They tell me their stories about St. Therese, their grandchildren, their parents, their teachers, their children.  I've been told I have a friendly face, and I like to think that I am approachable.  It must be true because people tell me, a person they have just met,  their personal stories all of the time!  I love to listen.  They love to tell.  There's something about St. Therese that brings out so much love in so many people.  Some of them have much emotion when they talk about her, and some start to cry. 


At one particular book signing this past spring at a church, I sat and chatted with parishioners about my book and St. Therese.  The day was very long, and, being human, I started to get hungry and tired.  Anyone who knows me knows that when I get hungry, I can get a little...crabby.  Usually all it takes is a handful of cookies or crackers and I'm back to my old self.  At this book signing, I was starting to feel the effects of a long day. I stood up and straightened up the books and St. Therese chaplets on the table, then  started to rummage through my purse for a quick snack.  While I was doing this, a very old woman came up to the table.  Elderly and frail, she stopped and looked at me.


"I do love St. Therese," she said, her eyes red and brimming with tears.


I sat down, smiled warmly and asked her to share her story.  


She began a halting explanation of  how St. Therese had touched her life in many ways.  As she spoke, I couldn't help but notice that the frail woman had not bathed in a long time.  While she was talking to me, a parishioner came up beside her and offered to treat her to a copy of Olivia and the Little Way.  She was delighted to accept, and was very grateful.


I signed a book for her and watched her hobble away. I felt very saddened because I knew she was poor, but I felt very happy too that she had a loving friend in the parish.  She lingered by the church and stared inside while I watched her quietly, feeling something in my heart I could not explain.


It was in that instant that I heard His Voice.


"Give her a chaplet."


 The Voice was as clear as day.  I glanced at the table, which held books and chaplets with pink rose beads.


"Give her a chaplet," the Voice said again, very insistent.


I reached over and collected a chaplet and the instruction card that I make to go with it.  I approached the lady and held both of them out to her.


"These are for you," I said and smiled.


The look on this lady's face was sheer joy as I placed the items in her wrinkled hands.  


"Oh, thank you! Thank you!" she cried.


"Thank you for coming to talk to me," I said.  Then I thought to myself, You've given me so much more than what I have given you.


When I started to write Olivia and the Little Way, I had many doubts. But God and St. Therese had other ideas!  One day I heard God tell me to write it, and because I listened to Him, He made so many wonderful things happen in one year.  This Friday will be the one-year anniversary of Olivia and the Little Way, the day God made all of my dreams come true.  In one short year, I've had three printings, a Catholic Press Association book award, met hundreds of wonderful, faithful people, and have thousands of readers and fans of my little book.  Amazing.  And to think it all started with a Voice.


Listen to His Voice.   Do what He wants you to do.  Be still and hear what He wants to say to you, and you will be amazed, as I was and still am.







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