I want to do God’s will, but how do I know what God’s will for me is? Every day we are confronted with seemingly endless options for how to spend our time: what to do, what to eat, what to read, how to interact with the people around us. Add to these decisions the bigger questions about our life, career, and family, and we have a lot on our plate to discern! How can we manage to know and follow God’s will in all these decisions?

In the Gospel today, Jesus invites us to do God’s will. Thankfully, he gives us not only an invitation but also a strategy: first, listen to his words, and then, act on them. Or in Jesuit-speak: be a contemplative in action. Both parts in the process are essential. In our lives, we spend so much time doing, but how much time do we spend listening?

I often get so caught up in all the things I need to do that I forget to (or make excuses not to) spend time listening to Jesus. And when I do make time for prayer, I often end up voicing my own needs and desires rather than silencing myself in order to hear what God might have to say.

Perhaps Jesus is inviting us this Advent to spend a little more time quieting ourselves in prayer so we may listen to his words in scripture and in our hearts. As we hear and feel deeply Jesus’ love and invitation, we will find ourselves living out of that love each day. We will find ourselves doing God’s will.

How will you listen to Jesus’ words and act on them this Advent?

—Thomas Bambrick, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic in First Studies, studying philosophy at Fordham University, New York.