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How does one know when God is speaking? Today the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar celebrates the willingness of Mary to acquiesce to God’s choice of her to be the mother of Jesus the Christ. In reading a commentary on Psalm 40, chosen for today’s feast, I read the following:

In this psalm we hear about the sense of waiting for God to act, and in the end God does so in a marvelous way for which the psalmist gives thanks. There is, however, another side to the experience which is also present in this psalm, the divine perspective. Does God act arbitrarily (only when God sees fit for some private reason), or is the divine act in response dependent upon the human condition? Sacred teaching speaks about “readiness.” When the heart is ready God acts swiftly, without delay or hesitation. God willingly gives the divine Self to an open and empty heart. This is the key. (Ancient Songs Sung Anew, p. 101)

Clearly this state of heart does not come without preparation. I can imagine Mary sitting in silence (or doing her daily chores with full attention) from early childhood, praying not just for herself but for her loved ones to be filled with love and the desire for God. My best guess of her prayer would approximate the lovely gospel acclamation of David Haas, Come now, O Word of God (because music lifts me beyond the capacity of the spoken word). Listen:

Fill our minds that we may hear Your wisdom. Touch our lips that we may speak Your truth. Hold our hearts that we may always follow You. Come now, O Word of God. (music on youtube)