because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
- 1 Samuel 3:7-10
In this Sunday’s first reading, we listen to the call of Samuel. Samuel holds an important place in biblical history. He is considered the last of the judges and the first of the major prophets. Under his watch, Israel became a kingdom, and it was Samuel who anointed the first two kings of ancient Israel: Saul and David. But at the time of today’s reading, Samuel has not yet achieved this important role and is still training with the high priest Eli. At first, Samuel does not understand who is calling him. He believes it is Eli calling to him for help. Eventually, Eli realizes it is God calling to Samuel and tells him, if he hears someone calling again, to respond, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Samuel does as Eli instructs and the rest, as they say, is history.
Whatever form this call takes, what matters the most is how we respond to it. Will you ignore the call or misinterpret it? Or will you respond as Samuel did, “Speak, for your servant is listening?” One way to recognize God’s call is through a process called discernment. Discernment involves a combination of prayer, reflection and discussion with others, especially priests or other religious. It is through discernment that we are able to understand our vocation and the path God is directing us down. So take some time, listen, and try to understand what God is calling you to do.