The other day I was listening to a podcast with my headphones as I walked into the kitchen to grab a drink. My husband started talking to me, but I didn’t hear him. After I noticed his flailing arms signaling to me, I paused the podcast and removed my headphones. He couldn’t see the ear pods hidden behind my long hair and grew concerned over why I was ignoring him. Imagine if I hadn’t seen his attempts to grab my attention and had gone back to the bedroom… I might have never known he was trying to talk to me. How often do we do that with God? How often are we listening to everyone and everything while not even noticing Him trying to talk to us?
Anyone who has been married for a while knows that it is often the little recurring everyday annoyances that make marriage challenging. Family life presents us with constant opportunities to practice the virtues of patience, kindness, and humility; it is truly a school for souls. And in this school, as well as in any other school, we tend to overcomplicate things and lose sight of the simple truth.
“You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
Only… that means no less, no more. Simple, right? That is always the way it is with God. We are the ones who complicate things. In our efforts to justify our behavior, to accommodate our will, we twist and turn the truth until we are so tied up in knots that we can not tell which direction is up.
In the footnote for this Scripture passage (NABRE) we read:
So yes, this is simple, but it is not easy. We can only do what is required of us when we “walk humbly” with God, when we listen carefully to the revealed will of God. Humility is tied to listening; it tells us which way is up. We are down; God is up. He knows what is best. And He reveals His will to us… if we only listen.
I was thinking of the example of the Holy Family and how they listened to God. We know we have in Mary an example of perfect humility, of perfect receptivity to the will of God. There was no obstacle between her and the message of the angel. And, as much as I want to be like her, I know there are still many obstacles in my heart that make it difficult sometimes for me to listen. So I also look at Joseph, who had his own plans for how to solve a difficult situation. God waited until he was asleep to speak to him. I don’t think it is a coincidence that in times of worry and anxiety the first thing to go is a good night’s sleep.
“It is in vain for you to rise early and put off your rest at night, To eat bread earned by hard toil—all this God gives to his beloved in sleep.” (Psalm 127:2)
What if instead of trying to find a solution to every problem on my own I would give Jesus my burdens and let Him be my God? What would happen if I shut down the noise of the world and open my ears to Him? Perhaps I would find it easier to “do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with my God”.