Giving God Your Address

Have you ever noticed that mailing a letter to someone involves reciprocity? You can’t send anything to someone unless he has told you his address. I often marvel at this specificity of location, every time I pen a letter to someone. Out of all the addresses in the world, that person happens to live right there. Unless that person has told where he lives, my letter will never get to him. Yet if he has, the letter will surely reach him, right to his very mailbox.

Responding to the Call

So, too, this reciprocity applies to our relationship with the Lord. The story of young Samuel from today’s first reading illustrates this dynamic between the call of the Lord and the one who listens. We read how the Lord calls him during the night by name. After coming to know that it is the Lord, Samuel responds with that simple declaration: Here I am.

Let us sit with those words for a while as we reflect on this passage. Here I am. It is the very simple prayer of a child’s heart yet offers a great deal of insight.

I have found myself bringing these words to prayer lately. As I settle into silence and raise my heart and mind to God, I begin by declaring that I am here. Here I am. Yet why? What need is there to preface one’s prayer by telling the Lord where I am? After all, He knows everything.

Being Present

The answer is twofold. Firstly, we speak those words to still the mind and recognize the reality of being right here, right now. Common sense indeed, but the truth is that very often our thoughts are engrossed in what has already happened or what is to come. Settling into the slender space of the present moment is harder than it seems, for we are far too used to thinking of past and future. Yet once you are able to cast aside all those claims which Time has upon us, we are able to slip freely into the sliver of the present, right here and right now. We enter into that space of the eternal Now, where God dwells.

Revealing Ourselves to Him

Secondly, in speaking these words, we reveal ourselves more fully to God. In a way, we drop any masks we have been wearing and we dare to step out freely before the Lord. Here I am. Any effort to hide or cover oneself falls away at the declaration of these words. Fittingly, they reverse the words of hiding and fear from the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden. After they had partaken of the forbidden fruit, they hide themselves, and it is then that God calls out to them, “Where are you?” Fear and shame held them back from coming to Him at His call.

We who have been redeemed by Christ, however, need no longer hide ourselves from the Father. As St. John writes, “perfect love casts out all fear.” With childlike trust, we may offer our hearts freely to Him like the pages of an open book, stripped of any false cover. Let us be willing to step out in love and declare simply, “Here I am, Lord.” Though He knows all things, when we open our souls freely to Him—one might say we give him our address—we render to Him what He desires most: our freely given yes.

This week, friends, I invite you to take this simple refrain to prayer: Here I am. Let all the fears, all the residue of mistrust and shame, melt away in the warmth of His love. Allow yourself to be vulnerable to Him in prayer and receive from Him an embrace that never disappoints. Here I am: be precisely here and now, open wide the doors of your heart, and He will find You.

[Readings: 1 Sm 3:1-10, 19-20; Mk 1:29-39]

Radhika Sharda, MD

Radhika Sharda is a practicing physician and a convert to the Catholic faith from a Hindu background. She has written a book of essays on literature, Savour, which may be found on Amazon. She lives in Raleigh, NC, with her three young boys.

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