St. Anthony of Padua
1 Kgs 19: 9a. 11-16
At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there. Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.
When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”
Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
There is much questioning, conversation, and consternation about to the level of noise in contemporary society. We are all too easily drawn to forgo our personal space through the habitual reach of portable devices and social media. One effect of this instant and continuous access is an incessant barrage of news updates and text-messages—with the loss of personal quiet and decreasing ability to concentrate.
I myself have found this anxious “need” to incessantly check my e-mail and the latest news every few minutes, even immediately upon waking up. The loss for me is that these “tools” form a greater portion of my “interaction” with the world, rather than my own personal experience.
Some of the current solutions to this “noise” speak of mindfulness and meditation as ways to cultivate deeper interior quiet and stronger personal interaction with others people and with the wonderful world around us. The Ignatian Examen is one way of practicing this interior quiet, but also with the opportunity to invite God to more personally interact with us – to feed us with his love and grace.
Today’s reading from 1st Kings shows us that the distraction of “noise” is a perennial aspect in our world. In Elijah’s situation he has to find quiet after various noises and “news updates” of the world pass by – wind, crashing rocks, earthquakes, fire. Only then does he hears the voice of God in “a tiny whispering sound.”
What are some practical ways—spaces and times—by which I can intentionally disconnect from my mobile devices? Can I trust God enough to disconnect from these things in order to connect with him?
—Fr. Glen Chun, S.J. serves in campus ministry at Loyola University Chicago and is also minister of the Loyola Jesuit Community.
Let others seek happiness in their wealth and in their talents. Let them trust in the purity of their lives, in the number of their activities, in the intensity of their prayer; as for me, my confidence in you fills me with hope.
You are my divine protector. In you alone do I hope. I am assured, therefore, of my eternal happiness, for I firmly hope in it and all my hope is in you.
—St. Claude La Colombiere, S.J.