God communicates with us in a smorgasbord of ways.
Sometimes we hear an inner voice leading, guiding, and nudging us. Over time we learn to trust that voice as that of the Holy Spirit. It’s tone and tenor becomes familiar. We begin to recognize it when we hear it, like we do the voice of a loved one.
Sometimes the Creator speaks to us through nature.
Have you ever been awed by the beauty of a hawk circling overhead, noticing its strength and majesty?
Has your dog or cat ever nuzzled up to you, plopped its warm coat of fur on your feet or lap, and you sensed their unconditional love?
How about a chipmunk or squirrel scurrying across your porch inviting you to laugh at their playfulness?
The Native Americans teach that every animal has a unique spirit woven into them by the Creator. God’s creatures are brought into our lives from time to time to affirm that animal’s spirit within us or to nudge us to strive to develop the animal’s virtue or charism.
God also speaks to us through our dreams. When we’re sleeping our active mind is quiet freeing our subconscious mind to express itself. The images and experiences we encounter during our sleep often contain metaphors or hints of wisdom that God’s sharing with us.
We can connect with the wisdom in our dreams by sitting in the Quiet upon waking and asking God, what he might be saying to you through the dream. What words or symbols is he using to invite you to grow, or lead and guide you on your journey? Our dreams then become a Lectio Divina (divine reading) that inspire and guide us.
We also experience God through other people. Family, friends and loved ones often provide us with wise counsel to help us discover the path for our life.
A spiritual mentor, someone trained in the skill of discernment, is also a way we can learn to hear God’s wisdom. Sitting once a month for an hour with a spiritual guide helps us determine the movement of God in our lives and our response to his invitations.
The Creator has many ways of speaking in, through, and to us. The path is always there for us to hear him. As co-creators with God, our task is to notice, listen, and respond.
—brian j plachta
If you want to dive deeper in your spiritual journey, check out these resources:
How Can I Hear God?
The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals
Dreams: God’s Forgotten Language
What’s Spiritual Mentoring?
I never got that kiss with Teresa. But as I reflect on that long-ago night, I realize Sister Carmella shared two pieces of wisdom I’ll never forget: to leave room for Jesus and the healing power of a smile.