Then the disciples came and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.
The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’ With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: ‘You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn— and I would heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Jesus presents two distinct ways of interacting with his teachings. While his apostles have eyes that see and ears that hear, others hear without understanding and look without seeing. How can we be more like Jesus’ disciples? How do we know what God is saying to us in the first place?
Saint Ignatius teaches that God speaks to us through our desires. When we discern—or reflect and pray on the events of our lives—we often discover feelings of consolation and desolation. Margaret Silf, author of The Inner Compass, writes that consolation happens “when our hearts are drawn toward God.” Desolation represents the opposite. Silf explains that consolation is more than “simply feeling good.” It is characterized by the peace of placing God at the center of our lives, truly seeking to follow the Lord’s will, even at the expense of our own immediate wishes.
For Ignatius Loyola, dreams of achieving glory as a soldier, while pleasing at first, ultimately left feelings of dissatisfaction. Imagining a life in service to God brought a sense of lasting fulfillment. Which of my desires bring me consolation in prayer? What might God be calling me to do with these?
—Brian Harper works in Chicago as a communications specialist for the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin Jesuit provinces.
Live, Jesus, live, so live in me that all I do be done by thee. And grant that all I think and say may be thy thought and word today.
—An anonymous authorPlease share the Good Word with your friends!