In the early days after my conversion, I heard many things from a Voice that I assumed was God or God through the Holy Spirit, directing, teaching, and, surprisingly, tasking me. While little things, but they were often things that could be confirmed in their authenticity by subsequent events. Here are a couple:
After my first confession, I was frustrated and confused (which, I now freely admit that I had no right to be). The priest to whom I had been assigned – this was a large group set up for all in the parish before Easter – was partially deaf and spoke only Spanish. I probably could have managed communicating with him in Spanish, but with impaired hearing and a non-native accent, he would never have understood me. Not that he understood me in English! So, he gave me ten Our Fathers for a penance, not having understood or perhaps even heard much of what I said. Obviously, I was not in the right frame of mind for any penance to be sincere, and partway through the second iteration of Our Father, I felt myself being pulled by the elbow to the outside of the church. Once outside, I exclaimed, “He didn’t listen. I could have said that I burned down the town and murdered ten priests, and he would have given me the same penance!”
“I listen,” answered the Voice. There can be much communication in just two words!
Of course, since then, I have come to understand better the nature and role of confession, as well as the role of the priest. Having been "instructed" by the Voice, though, I came to that understanding much more quickly than I might have otherwise.
In the early days, I did not know that not everyone heard the Voice as I did. A good friend, in whom I had confided several of my experiences with the Voice, made the comment to me that she did not understand why she could not hear the Voice and wondered if there was something wrong with her. I did not think so, but the next time at prayer, I asked.
“She is fragile,” came the response. I had no idea how to interpret that comment!
Nonetheless, the next time I spoke to her, I told her what I had heard. In a shocked voice, she said words that then shocked me: “I understand completely. I have been diagnosed with Fragile Person Syndrome.” Oh, my! I had no idea what that was, but when she explained it to me, I understood how apt the response had been.
When I first began sharing my experiences with what I call "the Voice" with readers, I was very reluctant to mention these experiences at all, let alone in detail. The response of readers, though, gave me courage to continue sharing, and the fact that I was not alone among those in the blogosphere also gave me courage. However, somewhere along the line, quite recently, I have come to full comfort with this situation. I suppose there have been many things that have fed into that comfort, including learning that others have the same experiences, finding some historical descriptions of similar experiences, and, most important, coming to the realization that it is not my choice how God communicates with me. It is God's choice how He communicates with me or with anyone. The fact that I do not know why He chooses one means of communication for me and other means for others should not trouble me. (It could be as simple as my being too "dense" to "hear" or understand anything more subtle.) I should simply be happy that God is willing to communicate with me. I am.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
3 days ago