Monday, March 27, 2023
Dolores Hanley McDiarmid
Have you ever heard the whispers of an interior voice speaking to you and wonder if it is God? Or maybe you’ve heard about those whispers from others but haven’t heard them yourself.
The Lenten season is the perfect time to grow closer to God in prayer and create an interior environment that will better enable you to hear the interior whispers from God. In prayer, we talk to God and he speaks to us. However, God communicates to each of us in different ways and at different times.
We may hear God’s whispering words when we are not in prayer. Sometimes God surprises us at an unexpected time, reminding us that he is near, as he did in this true story about what happened to Dorothy while she was on vacation with her husband.
As a young girl, Dorothy had a great affection for little lambs, and this affection continued well into her adult life. One summer, she and her husband were planning a trip to Ireland, so Dorothy researched places to visit and things to do. To her great surprise, she found a place where visitors could hold the little lambs and feed them. This would be the highlight of her time in Ireland; at least that’s what she thought.
The day arrived. Dorothy’s husband was driving their rental car up the mountain on very narrow roads — a stressful drive, but worth it, Dorothy thought, as she would have time to spend with the little lambs and feed them. When she and her husband arrived, though, they discovered the place closed on Mondays.
Dorothy’s heart sank in disappointment. She was upset with herself for not thoroughly investigating this tourist attraction. How could she have overlooked such an important detail?
Then Dorothy heard an interior voice say, “Wait until the end of the trip and you will find the important lamb.” They would be in Dublin at the end of the trip, an unlikely place to find a lamb, she thought.
But they continued their trip and in a few days found themselves at an unfamiliar Marian shrine — unfamiliar to them but not to the thousands of people there: the Marian Shrine of Knock.
While walking around the beautiful sacred grounds, Dorothy’s eyes were drawn to the unexpected. She was amazed to find an altar with a statue of a white baby lamb in the center. Both the altar and the statue were made from the same white marble.
The interior voice returned. “This is the important lamb.”
Indeed, she was in the presence of the Lamb of God. (Jn 10:27: My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.)
Reflecting on Dorothy’s experience, perhaps we could view this Lent as a journey, one where we realize that our focus needs to be redirected, away from our year-round preoccupation with ourselves, our families, our goals and desires, what gives us pleasure and makes us comfortable.
During our Lenten journey, Jesus calls us to spend more time with him in prayer, to make sacrifices to help others, to confess our weaknesses in the sacrament of reconciliation, and to receive him in the Eucharist in a state of grace.
May the important lamb, the Lamb of God, be our focus this Lent.
Lord, help us to be still and listen for your whispering words to us.