At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, "Samuel! Samuel!" and he said, "Here I am!" and ran to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call; lie down again." So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, "Samuel!" Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call, my son; lie down again." Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’" So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."
Today is Wednesday the 15 January, in the first week of Ordinary time.
The monks of Pluscarden Abbey sing: Ego vos elegi ‘I have chosen you out of the world, so that you might go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last.’ As I listen to this chant, I remind myself that God calls me, calls me by my name. However unsuitable or unworthy I may think I am, God has chosen me.
Today’s reading is from the First Book of Samuel.
Eli, the old holy man has a new young assistant, Samuel, but it takes the wisdom of the old man to let the young man know that God is speaking directly to him. God speaks directly to each one of us. When have I felt that God was saying something to me?
God has traditionally been seen as speaking in dreams, imagination, convictions, feelings – so many different ways – and not as a booming voice from heaven, but when thoughts come to mind that bring life, enthusiasm, virtues, love and goodness. Can I recognise God speaking to me in these ways?
Sometimes I may find it hard to believe, given the immensity of the universe, that any creator of such unimaginable vastness could be interested in relatively insignificant me. But as I hear the story again, I might reflect that showing interest in a single individual is exactly what God does here.
It might be a good time now, in the quiet of your heart, to speak those words of Samuel: "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening", then don't force any answer – be still and wait for a reply.