When looking to God for guidance, should we listen for His actual Voice? Are words, phrases, and sentences that pop into the brain the way to handle this: is that Him? Or is it more a matter of nonverbal communication: what we are compelled to do, how we feel?
Most praying Catholics know the important augury of a tranquil spirit. When something “rings right,” it settles well into our thinking. God speaks through His tranquility to us. He prays into our prayer. It’s comfortable, like an old shoe. There is the sensation of… peace. Real locutions are not long and rambling and Saint Teresa of Avila says every word is etched indelibly into the memory.
To act on that peace is to invite more communication — more of the miraculous — and this comes about when we “go with the flow” (of the Holy Spirit) instead of giving into what we think is best. Bind the enemy so he does not whisper to you. Obedience to God will produce peace.
The devil will press you. So will the flesh. They will attempt to force things. They will urge us to forge ahead when the way is not yet clear. The flesh will concoct a “voice” out of the subconscious because it is impatient. It will cause us to act errantly or at least in a way that’s premature.
A rabbi who converted to Christianity (when he saw Jesus ) advises us to “become self-aware. We need to live life from within. Pay attention to the inner witness of our hearts. Become more aware of what is going on inside us as opposed to being more connected to the outer world.
“Act on what you hear. To be led by the Spirit, we must be able to discern the peace of God. If we do not have peace about something, wait before moving forward. Abiding in God’s peace is a sure way to be fruitful and to see supernatural results from your actions.
“Realize your senses are being trained. Sometimes we have a clear sense that we are hearing from God, but other times we are not sure. If our hearts are right and if we are stepping out in trust, God will train our senses. When God gives us illumination and we act on it, more is given and we enter into God’s Power and Presence more and more.
“Let go of the pressure to perform. There is no satisfaction in faking a supernatural experience. If we are going to experience the supernatural Presence of the Holy Spirit, we cannot give in to the pressure to try to make it happen…”
The safest way is going by the “gut,” by what is transmitted viscerally to the heart after prayer and especially fasting. “I want you to consult Me in all things, even in those that seem insignificant,” the Lord told an Irish monk who supposedly receives locutions. “I am with you at every moment in every area of your life. Do you not see how much I have been calling you to trust in Me? Allow Me to guide you and to direct your steps. Come to Me with your questions, your perplexities, and your needs. Nothing is too small for Me, and nothing too great.
“Whenever you perceive a conflict in your obligations and duties, come to Me and I will resolve it for you. Be not anxious when listening for the sound of My Voice in your heart. You will recognize My words, and this will happen without anxiety or stress on your part. Be at peace.
“Why should I not hold conversation with you who are the friend of My Heart? I speak in this way to many souls but not all recognize My Voice, and very few welcome My conversation and receive My friendship as the freely given gift it is.
“Allow Me to speak words of peace into your soul. So much time and energy is wasted on futile worrying and endless discussions about what is needed and how to go about getting it. Simply present your needs to Me with a trusting heart and I will show you that I am a lavish provider for those who let Me take charge of their needs. Has this not been My message all through sacred history: ‘Trust Me, and you shall see wonders?’
“Continue to listen for Me in the encounters and events of daily life.
“Listen to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. When it is time to act or to move on a particular question, this will be made clear to you. Until you have that certainty, be content to persevere in this hidden life of Adoration.”
Adoration: here is direct communication; here He meets our sincerity with the gift of peace through patience, a peace that is the signpost, a tranquilness that shows us the straightest path through the narrow gate.