God...our theological E.F.Hutton!
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By Hugh McNichol
There used to be a television commercial that invoked the name of the financial planning conglomerate E.F.Hutton and when he spoke people...listened! Madison Avenue and its writers created this very effective ad campaign to illustrate the importance of relying on a sound financial advisor to plan for all of life's events. We have a similar response in the teachings of the Church, however more times than not most people just shrug off the teachings of J.C.the Messiah as nothing more than pious platitudes in a world of technological individualism. That is really a shame.
Today, more so than ever the teachings of the Gospel are relevant in an ever expanding world, that is shrinking the delays of communications across time zones and national borders on a daily basis. Text messaging, email, cellular phone calls, faxes, I.M,s and a cornucopia of devices are used every single day to communicate all types of information. My question however is this: Are we listening? If every email and text communication we received was a potentially lucrative stock tip from E.F.Hutton, there is no doubt in my mind that we would all be listening with great interest and then fire up the PC for an online transaction. But are we listening to the important spiritual and moral messages that are instantly messaged to our hearts and souls and consciences through both the Word of God and His Sacraments. Perhaps all of the external electronic technologies are short circuiting our antennae of our consciences and hearts.
One aspect of my life that has been very difficult to change is the constant barrage of the presumed need for constant conversation and stimulation through modern technologies. The physical act of, "Listening" is not always something that is easily accomplished, especially if there is a world of cacophonic sounds, attached to all sorts of devices that mute out the volume of God's message to each of us. I am convinced that on a regular basis, every Catholic needs to "turn-off" all of the static sounds of our lives and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in complete silence. Now that really seems like an oxymoron...hearing the Holy Spirit in silence. Well as contradictory as this might sound...silence is a great conduit to communicate with God. I often think that if God communicated with us in a manner like the local news media and public relations firms, advertising agencies...how abrasive and ineffectual such communications would be. God would be almost like the Orwellian, Big Brother transmitting divine proclamations through the large telescreen located everywhere within physical sight. God though is really too savvy a theological powerhouse to use such mundane and glitzy technology...he uses our hearts and consciences as the vehicle for his Sacred communications.
This time of the year we are always running around, being bombarded with external stimuli that often are not focus upon any possible understanding and appreciation of God's divine Word. As Catholics, we need to change that harried secular perception and LISTEN in prayerful silence to God's messages of peace and harmony to a world that is frequently marred by so many tragic events and activities.
It does not have to be elaborate, I challenge everyone out there to set aside 15 minutes a day of silent prayer, either before the Blessed Sacrament, or in a quiet space to listen to the message our Eternal Father is speaking to us on a daily basis. Let's get back to not only the basics of understanding our faith, but also to the basics of good prayer...God speaks and inspires and we listen. As a goal, perhaps the entire Catholic community should foster a day of prayer for world peace and understanding. Not a day cluttered with activities and events and liturgies, but a day of silence prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in all of the churches throughout the world. Perhaps then we could listen long enough to treat God's Word like the sage advice of E.F.Hutton and just...listen!
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