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Visions Of Hope: Word Of God

"I am very fond of the story of Elijah at Mount Horeb in which the word of the Lord came to him in 'a still small voice'. I believe this is how we should hear the 'word of God' today, though very few of us are quiet enough to hear it,'' writes William Sykes.

Word of God—Christ as mediator or manifestation of God to men and women
Our Lord was supremely aware of this 'still small voice'. That is why he spent such a long time in the wilderness and whole nights in prayer, away from everyone so he could listen and hear.

I have been greatly helped by some words of William Dell in which he said that people might feel something nearer lo them than the Scriptures, which was the Word in the Heart, from whence all Holy Scriptures came, which is Christ within them the Hope of their Glory. This encourages us to be open to the voice of God who continues to speak to us directly in that 'still small voice.' Michel Quoist also supports this view. He agreed that God speaks to us in his Gospel, but he speaks to us also through life, that new Gospel to which we ourselves add a new page every day.

Someone said it's all very well being open to the word of God in this way, but how does this relate to the Word of God in the Bible, and the overall authority of Scripture? What about those people who claim to hear the voice of God and then commit awful crimes in obedience to the voice of God?

I take as my ultimate authority 'the still small voice', and then use the Bible as a canon or guide to check carefully the authenticity of this word. If it is in line with Scripture, OK, if not, then it has to be rejected.

My current practice is to 'reflect' on passages in Visions of Faith, Hope, and Love, and listen to the word of God which I experience as 'a still small voice.' This is how I hear that new Gospel.

But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.
Deuteronomy 30:14

If I say, 'I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,' there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
Jeremiah 20:9

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Hebrews 4:12-13

The Word of God tends to make large-minded, noble-minded men.
Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, Charles Burnet & Co., 1887, page 129

The New Testament designs the Christian man to be a child of light and joy.
Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, Charles Burnet & Co., 1887, page 164

The Word of God is a grand encourager of the supreme use of the understanding of men, both in things secular and in things spiritual and divine.
Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, Charles Burnet & Co., 1887, page 134

By dwelling in the one Word dwelt in all, so that the one being constituted the Son of God in power, the same dignity might pass to the whole human race.
St Cyril of Alexandria, in F.C Happold, Religious Faith and Twentieth Century Man, Darton, Longman and Todd,
1980, page 145

The supremest power of divine truth is not when it is uttered forth in idea-form, but when exhibited in heart-form, or as it is evolved in actual life-experience.
Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, Charles Burnet & Co., 1887, page 178

The Word is to be distinguished from any human words, even the words of the Bible. The Word has its centre in Christ, and is attested to by the Bible, but is known only through the grace of God.
John Bowden, in Alan Richardson and John Bowden, editors, A New Dictionary of Christian Theology, SCM Press,
1985, page 603

... does not mean telling the old story over and over again, but the offering of channels through which people can discover themselves, clarify their own experi¬ences and find the niches in which the Word of God can take firm hold.
Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer, Doubleday, 1979, page 40

Then the word of God shall have come into your souls and clinging to your hearts will form your minds according to the image of the word itself, i.e. that you should desire and do what the word of God wills, and thereby Christ himself will be formed in you.
Origen, 'Homily on Psalm 36', in Mother Mary Clare, SLG, Encountering the Depths, edited by Ralph Townsend, Darton, Longman and Todd, 1981, page 15

People are hungry for the word of God that will give peace, that will give unity, that will give joy. But you cannot give what you don't have. That's why it is necessary to deepen your life of prayer. Allow Jesus to take you, pray with you and through you, and then you will be a real, true contemplative in the heart of the world.
Mother Teresa, Jesus, the Word to be Spoken, compiled by Brother Angelo Devananda, William Collins Sons & Co.,
1990, page 74

The word of God becomes flesh during the day, during meditation, during Holy Communion, during contemplation, during adoration, during silence. That word in you, you give to others. It is necessary that the word live in you, that you understand the word, that you love the word, that you live the word. You will not be able to live that word unless you give it to others.
Mother Teresa, Jesus, the Word to be Spoken, compiled by Brother Angelo Devananda, William Collins Sons & Co.,
1990, page 27

The word of God is like a seed which enters human hearts with varying results according to the nature of the soil. In some the word is able to take root and to create a response of faith. Although the process is in accordance with divinely pre-ordained laws, no attempt is made to interfere with the soil. Each man is free to respond or not. So it was with all our Lord's teaching.
L.S. Thornton, C.R., The Common Life of the Body of Christ, Dacre Press, A. & C Black, 1950, page 242

... the minister of the Word works to achieve the precision in his utterances which is the poet's power both to be incisive and to extend the range of human conscious¬ness ... How men are enlarged and caught continues to be a mystery bound up with the mystery of what is communicated when the Gospel is proclaimed. The words in which it is spoken are the words of life and it is not given to the preacher to manipulate them as he wills.
R.E.C. Browne, The Ministry of the Word SCM Press, 1958, page 73

To achieve the interior act one must assemble all one's powers as it were into one corner of one's soul, where, secreted from images and forms one is able to work. We must sink into oblivion and ignorance. In this silence, this quiet, the Word is heard. There is no better method of approaching this Word than in silence, in quiet: we hear it and know it aright in unknowing. To one who knows naught it is clearly revealed.
Meister Eckhart, in Franz Pfeiffer, The Works ofMeister Rckhart, translated by C. de B. Evans, John M. Watkins, 1924,
volume I, page 13

Within that awful volume lies The mystery of mysteries! Happiest they of human race, To whom God has granted grace To read, to fear, to hope, to pray, To lift the latch, and force the way; And better had they ne'er been born, Who read to doubt, or read to scorn.
Sir Walter Scott, The Monastery, Oxford University Press, 1912, page 118

The Bible is really the guided, inspired word of man about the Word of God, but there is only one real Word of God, and that is our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible gives us the inspired prophecy that looks forward to His coming, and the inspired memoirs of men who wrote about Him when He came, but the one Word of God that abideth forever is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the everlasting Word that shall never fail, He is the everlasting Revelation that shall never pass away, the everlasting Life in Whom alone we shall find our perfect peace.
Father Andrew, SDC, A Gift of Light, selected and edited by Harry C. Griffith, AR. Mowbray & Co., 1968, page 76

There is a place where God speaks to you and it's closer than you think—it is in you. Stop for a moment, close your eyes and keep quiet. You've arrived. Now listen. Your Lord has just said: 'If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him (John 14:23).
'But I'm not practising God's Word.'
'You're trying though, aren't you.'
'Then "they" are there—the Lord said nothing about only loving saints.'
Michel Quoist, With Open Heart, translated by Colette Copeland, Gill and Macmillan, 1983, page 181

What did you mean when you said that St. Catherine and St. Margaret talked to you every day?
Joan [of Arc] They do.
What are they like?
(suddenly obstinate) I will tell you nothing about that: they have not given me leave.
But you actually see them; and they talk to you just as I am talking to you?
No: it is quite different. I cannot tell you: you must not talk to me about my voices.
How do you mean? voices?
I hear voices telling me what to do. They come from God. They come from your imagination.
Of course. That is how the messages of God come to us.
George Bernard Shaw, Saint Joan, The Bodley Head, 1924, scene i

Now as the word of God is full of the expression of his love towards man, so all his works do loudly proclaim it: he gave us our being, and by preserving us in it, doth renew the donation every moment. He hath placed us in a rich and well-furnished world, and liberally provided all our necessities; he raineth down blessings from heaven upon us, and causeth the earth to bring forth our provision; he giveth us our food and raiment, and while we are spending the productions of one year, he is preparing for us against another. He sweeteneth our lives with innumerable com¬forts, and gratifieth every faculty with suitable objects; the eye of his providence is always upon us, and he watcheth for our safety when we are fast asleep, neither minding him nor ourselves.
But lest we should think these testimonies of his kindness less considerable, because they are the easy issues of his omnipotent power, and do not put him to any trouble or pain, he hath taken a more wonderful method to endear himself to us; he hath testified his affection to us, by suffering as well as by doing; and because he could not suffer in his own nature, he assumed ours.
Henry Scougal, The Life of God in the Soul of Man, C.J.G. & F. Rivington, 1829, page 62


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