Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Learning to Hear the Bridegroom’s Voice

In the Gospel of St. John, our Lord says,

My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

As we know, sheep are stupid.  If sheep can know its shepherd’s voice, we who are enlivened with the gift of the Holy Spirit are configured to hear the voice of the Bridegroom.  Still, with all the distractions of the world we many times have forgotten what prayer is.  To understand prayer we must first understand that prayer is an act of love and thus the object of our heart. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states,

2563 The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place “to which I withdraw.” The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant.

When we think of the heart and covenant we should naturally think of the Sacrament of Marriage.  Marriage from the beginning is at the “heart” of creation.  Not just in the universal sense but the personal sense.   The fullness of marriage in eternity begins here on earth as we grow in a relationship with the other.  This relationship is communicated through prayer which is further explained in the CCC:

2564 Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ. It is the action of God and of man, springing forth from both the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the human will of the Son of God made man.

2565 In the New Covenant, prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit. The grace of the Kingdom is “the union of the entire holy and royal Trinity . . . with the whole human spirit.”[1] Thus, the life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him. This communion of life is always possible because, through Baptism, we have already been united with Christ.[2] Prayer is Christian insofar as it is communion with Christ and extends throughout the Church, which is his Body. Its dimensions are those of Christ’s love.[3]

It is the Church who teaches us to pray (CCC 2661).  How do we first learn to hear His voice…through Holy Scripture during the Liturgy:

2659 We learn to pray at certain moments by hearing the Word of the Lord and sharing in his Paschal mystery, but his Spirit is offered us at all times, in the events of each day, to make prayer spring up from us. Jesus’ teaching about praying to our Father is in the same vein as his teaching about providence:[4] time is in the Father’s hands; it is in the present that we encounter him, not yesterday nor tomorrow, but today: “O that today you would hearken to his voice! Harden not your hearts.”[5]

The Liturgy is much more important than we understand.  Let us start at the Divine Liturgy to lean how to pray.

[1] St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio, 16, 9: PG 35, 945.

[2] Cf. Rom 6:5.

[3] Cf. Eph 3:18-21.

[4] Cf. Mt 6:11, 34.

[5] Ps 95:7-8.

One Response to Learning to Hear the Bridegroom’s Voice

  1. Paul Mueller says:

    I found your site on the title search: “Voice of the Bridegroom” –I have written on this title at: —please search, read and comment. Thanks, Paul

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