January 17, 2024 at 10:57 a.m.
Turn off the world and answer the call
Tom Cronin is the Director of Evangelization & Strategic Planning in the Diocese of Albany. Contact Tom with any questions about boosting evangelization efforts at your parish at [email protected]
or by visiting www.rcda.org/evangelization. Follow me on Instagram: tom_rcda.
Many Scriptures challenge and encourage us to be more open to hearing the word of God and taking time to enter a quiet place.
It is in these quiet places that we are most likely to encounter and grow in our relationship with God. Think about all the times that Jesus departs from the crowds and goes to a quiet place to pray. Evangelization is all about loving Jesus and sharing that love with everyone we encounter. We must be aware of His presence to then put that love into action. Incalculable graces and blessings come from being focused on Jesus. We can’t give what we don’t have. The more we love Jesus, the more we are able to share that love through our words and deeds. Our mission and purpose is to evangelize — it is why we exist. We are commanded “to go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). We may not physically go out to “all nations,” but when we take responsibility to share the Good News in our small piece of the vineyard, we are fulfilling our mission.
Growing our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may sound ominous, but is no different than developing relationships with our friends or colleagues. Spending time together and being a good listener is critical. A few years ago, in my corporate days at a sales team conference, we were trained to “marinate in the silence” while negotiating deals. Many of us thought this was challenging and uncomfortable. We are naturally conditioned and constantly enveloped by noise. The distractions in our world are endless, especially when our phones are nearby. Smartphones are a technical marvel, but the distractions can cause much negativity and even evil, if we allow them. How many times do our phones even pre-occupy our attention from those we are physically with? Phones and other technical devices can make developing more intimate personal relationships more challenging when we are not completely present to those in our presence due to distractions.
All the noise and clutter make it difficult to hear anything or anyone. God “speaks” to us all the time, the challenge is having the awareness of His presence and putting ourselves in a place to hear Him. The noise and distractions easily consume us and make it very challenging.
There are times when each of us need to follow the advice that Eli gave to Samuel and answer the call, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). Once we have the awareness and are predisposed to the call, the responsibility is in our hands to push the clutter to the side. It takes effort to make the time and challenge ourselves to be more aware of God’s presence.
Finding a quiet place and marinating in the silent presence of our Lord is life’s recipe for joy and fulfillment. We all need to work at integrating more silent prayer and reflection into our days. We may not be able to allocate regular time to worship in Eucharistic Adoration, but my tip is to at least take advantage of our solitude when we are traveling alone in our cars. Turn the radio off, stay off phone calls, and repeat, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” If your experience is anything like mine, be prepared to feel Jesus’ loving presence that will warm your heart and bring you a sense of peace like nothing else in this world.
Tom Cronin is the Director of Evangelization & Strategic Planning in the Diocese of Albany. Contact Tom with any questions about boosting evangelization efforts at your parish at [email protected] or by visiting www.rcda.org/evangelization. Follow me on Instagram: tom_rcda