Listen, Learn, Repent

When I sit down to write a blog post, my first thought is, “What can we learn from these readings? What can we take to heart and to prayer?” Upon first glance, I thought today’s first reading was more of an entertaining story with little to no takeaway while the Gospel, the call of the 12 apostles, had all of the substance. I must admit that I was wrong.

There is a lot to unpack in the dialogue between David and Saul. First and foremost, we see David’s ability to discern the voice of the Lord and follow His commands. On the other hand, David’s servants thought they heard the Lord’s voice clearly when they encouraged David to kill Saul, his enemy, who was seeking his life. However, David knew that Saul was the Lord’s anointed one and that he had been forbidden by the Lord to lay a hand on his master. And so David clearly heard and understood the Lord’s voice, sparing Saul’s life.

How clearly do we hear the Lord’s voice in our own lives? Do we hear His voice, ignore it, and choose to listen to the noise of our culture and society instead? I believe struggling to hear the Lord’s voice is why so many of us struggle in times of prayer. We turn to God in prayer seeking answers, His input, His wisdom, His love, and so much more. When we don’t hear or see a response clear enough for our human eyes, we question whether our prayer was heard and whether God cares about us. The Lord’s voice is often heard in the silence, in peace, and in stillness. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the ways He works in the little spaces, the little corners of our lives.

We can also learn a lesson from Saul in the first reading too. When David confronts Saul, revealing that he had spared his life, Saul embraces the spirit of repentance and forgiveness. Saul realized that he had been in the wrong as he sought to kill David and recognized David’s generosity.

In our human condition, we experience so much need for repentance and forgiveness. We sin, and we involve others in our sin. We need mercy and forgiveness, which is won for us by Christ on the cross, but we also need this mercy on a human level. A lot can be accomplished by the words, “I’m sorry for what I have done. Can you please forgive me?” Words that should be spoken to each other but especially to our Heavenly Father through the sacrament of Reconciliation. Although we just wrapped up the seasons of Advent and Easter, this sentiment is a wonderful Lenten attitude.

Stop. Listen for the Lord’s voice. Follow His commands. Ask for forgiveness when we don’t follow His commands. Repeat. Thank you, David and Saul, for these simple reminders.

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Erin is a Cleveland native and graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Following graduation, she began volunteering in youth ministry at her home parish of Holy Family Church. Her first “big girl” job was in collegiate sports information where, after a busy two years in the profession on top of serving the youth, she took a leap of faith and followed the Lord’s call to full-time youth ministry at St. Peter Church. She still hopes to use her communication arts degree as a freelance writer and statistician, though. You can catch her on the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter @erinmadden2016.