Katrick: Learning to listen and to talk to God

“I’ll have a Fillet of Fish sandwich and a small order of fries.” “I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t get that. Could you repeat yourself?” “I’ll have a Fillet of Fish Value Meal!!” “I still didn’t understand what you’re saying.” “I have laryngitis.” “You’ll have what?!”

By this time, any semblance of a voice I have left is long gone, and so is my patience. Maybe I should try that place where, “Special (or any other kind of) orders don’t upset us,” or hire an interpreter. Well, someone either turned up the volume, or it was an act of God, but my order finally did go through.

Rev. Mark Katrick is a guest columnist for the Newark Advocate and an ordained minister.
Rev. Mark Katrick is a guest columnist for the Newark Advocate and an ordained minister.

If you read last week’s column, you’ve probably figured out that this is a prequel to my efforts to get someone to take my temperature, before making a pastoral call at Licking Memorial Hospital. This time, I simply wanted someone to feed my non-existent fever.

To state the obvious, communicating our thoughts and feelings, wants and needs can be problematic, for any number of reasons. And not being heard only complicates matters, for whatever the reason.

Nothing frustrates a person more than feeling that he or she is not being heard. And nothing makes a person feel better than knowing that he or she is being listened to.

Fortunately, for you and me, communicating with God through Jesus is far less complicated. This is what is commonly known as prayer, or reaching out to God, via the Divine-human One. You don’t need a two-way device to pray. You don’t even need your voice, even though talking out loud is always an option. I sometimes say my prayers in bed this way.

The whole point of it is a matter of the heart. In sacred silence, you channel your joys and sorrows, and our Lord receives them without hindrance or interference. It is more than likely that he already knows what we want, before we “ask and receive, seek and find, and knock so the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7)

Our Savior and Friend does like to hear from us, as often as possible. But he’ll never take it out on us, if we’ve lost our voice, our nerve, our patience or anything else. He’ll just keep on listening until we’ve finished what we have to say.

And if we turn up the volume, we’ll surely hear his still, small voice, responding to anything and everything we have to say, even the special orders.

Mark Katrick is a pastor and spiritual director.

This article originally appeared on Newark Advocate: Katrick: Learning to listen