“If you talk to God, you are praying; If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.” ~ Thomas Szasz
BZZZZZ. Wrong answer, Dr. Szasz! Thomas Stephen Szasz was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1920. He served for most of his career as professor of psychiatry at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. He, and many people of his ilk, have a hard time dealing with matters of the faith. Communicating with God? That would be a quick trip to the hospital.
It has been that way for ages. Joan of Arc said God spoke to her and she was burned at the stake. Other saints reported God spoke to them and they were silenced, locked up, or punished in some way, shape, or form.
God does speak to His people. Sometimes, it is quite dramatic such as speaking through a burning bush to Moses or proclaiming Jesus as His Son in a booming voice coming through the clouds. Other times, God’s voice is very quiet, like the tiny whispering wind that came to the ears of the prophet Elijah. Still other times — and probably most often — He speaks to us in the silence of our hearts.
But God does speak to His people and that doesn’t make us mentally ill for claiming that He does. If anything, it proves that we are willing to listen for His voice. Generally, that also means that we are willing to embrace His will for us.
This month, we remember all the saints and all the souls who have gone before us. We recall their many stories of strength, dedication, and determination. We are thankful for their willingness not only to listen to God’s voice but to put into action all that He revealed to them. Some of those saints radically changed the Church and/or the world by what they said and did.
We also remember our own loved ones — family and friends — who have been called to the Lord. Even though we grieve, we grieve as people of faith who are confident that they are at peace and that we will have the opportunity to see them again at the end of our days.
I am mindful of the many priests and bishops who have gone before us as well and who have witnessed to the voice of God’s call by the lives that they lived. Fine examples of them are in our remembrance section below. Let us all do our best to listen for the voice of God and be ready to heed what He says to us.
FAITH ACTION: Ask God for the grace to hear His voice and the courage to put His words into action in your life.