The Most Holy Name of Jesus (Optional Memorial)
The one who sent me . . . told me . . .
John the Baptist recognized Jesus immediately as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He had not known Jesus in this way previously, but God told him what to look for: “On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit” (1:33). John faced the same perplexity any of us might: did that thought really come from God? Was that dove really the Holy Spirit? And he used the same means to answer his questions that we can use as well: he spoke to God and listened for him to answer.
John probably told God what was on his heart, and listened for God to share what was on his. And he did this not once, not only in a moment of need, but regularly. John also was careful to test those “words” he heard from God—the senses he got as he prayed and listened. He tried responding to these words, which is one of the best ways to distinguish between what comes from God and what comes from ourselves. There were probably times when he “went for it,” even when “it” seemed ridiculous or foolish or incomprehensible. And sometimes, he might have ended up looking silly or impossible to understand. But through his successes, and especially his failures, John learned how to recognize God’s voice.
This new year, decide to spend time every day listening to what God wants to say to you. Become familiar with how he speaks to you: in thoughts or pictures that come to your mind; in a Scripture passage or a homily; in a stirring, pounding, or yearning of your heart; in tears or a sense of joy. Write it down in a journal. At the end of each week, review what you have written. Revisit the senses and impressions you felt in prayer. Over time, you may find yourself learning more about God’s goodness, his mercy, or his plans for you. Make this a year of listening and testing out what you hear.
“Father, I want to know you more. Teach me to recognize your voice as I go through my day.”
1 John 2:29–3:6
Psalm 98:1, 3-6
Word Among Us