Father James and I walked on for a while in silence after my question, leaving me to wonder if the question was too strange and out-of-line or if it was just because we had a steep uphill to climb and we simply had no breath to continue the conversation.
We reach the top and he continues, changing his serious tone and expression(if he were in army attire I would be rather intimidated) into something.. lighter, “God… knows us well…” and I begin to listen as if I were on a nice green hill listening to a homily.
I’ve always held on to this hope that one day, God would appear in fire or his voice would crackle down like lighting and pierce through the hearts of many. For some reason, it would just be easier to explain, easier to decide, easier to rationalize, “a loud voice told me so” and I wouldn’t have to explain myself further.
Yet in all these years of trying to hear God’s voice, he’s always come by with whispers softer than a rat scurrying about, in ways more discrete than any ninja I will never know. God is gentle.
Father James explained that we don’t react well if these things happened. We would be critical and skeptical, but not because we aren’t trusting but more because we, as humans, would fear – a lot. We would be afraid of not obeying, and perhaps because it’s a command, we might not seek to understand, to understand God’s heart. You could say loving things in a loud voice and proclaim it till the roof drops but somehow it means so much more when you whisper it to a person.
He brought up the example of the walk to Emmaus, how Jesus kind of came between the 2 disciples unassumingly and explained the past and it’s significance. They didn’t recognize him. If they had they might have had quite a different reaction and perhaps would never have listened to Jesus. I know I would be shocked and “ZOMG Jesus you’re alive?!”. It was like at the mass on monday, the priest had explained the same thing during his homily, it was the reading about how no prophet is accepted in his own native place. (Luke 4:16-30)
While walking in Spain and admiring the scenery, there was this natural expectation that God would rise out of the sunset, accompanied by trumpets and loud booms, in all his grandeur and majesty. Yet, there was also this very strong beauty in the quiet and the nothingness that spoke of his power. I figured that God wouldn’t want to be too explicit all the time, the world would be much too chaotic and noisy if he kept doing that.
So all in all, I’ve come to realize why I don’t place so much expectation in grand miracles and extraordinary events because that’s not how God builds trust and faith. He loves in the ordinary, in the simple and thus, in everything. He is very gentle. (and also really wise!)
And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power
1Cor2:1-5 (First reading on 01/09/14)