A friend and priest astutely observed:
The same voice that whispers into the addict’s ear that it is okay to feed their addiction — upon the very instant the addict yields — tells us we are a worthless and horrible person who will never overcome the addiction.
The goal of this voice is clear: to deceive us. Satan is the Great Deceiver. He is full of lies and his goal is always to drive a wedge between us and the limitless wellsprings of peace, love, and mercy God makes available to us. We must rail against the deceiver’s machinations. We must rebuke him in Jesus’ name. Aloud. We must see the lies for what they are. And if we cannot, we must ask God to help us see them for what they are.
Do not just run away from evil. Run toward something. Run to Christ, because he loves us to no end. Run to His divine mercy. His is the better voice to follow. And if we are not hearing the voice of God, we can manage to with time. One simply has to draw more closely to God. To pray and listen for his counsel. There are two readily accessible ways to discern God’s words. The first is through reading the Bible. Holy Scripture has a lot to tell us. We need only prayerfully turn the pages. It may seem like a daunting book to the uninitiated, but a good English translation, like the New American Bible can be read starting with the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. You need not read an entire book in one sitting. A few passages, or a small chapter can be enough.
The second accessible way to hear God’s words is by prayerfully listening during support meetings, where we are able to encounter God and hear His voice through other people. The voice of God is the voice of Love and Mercy itself. It draws us to Him and His peace. You will know it when you hear it. It will always support you, encourage you toward loving action, patience, and forgiveness.
There are other ways, of course to hear the correct voice. They involve prayerful reflection during private prayer, reconciliation, mass, and Eucharistic adoration. God sometimes will speak to our thoughts directly. And, of course, on rare occasion He or the Holy Mother will appear to an individual.
In order to hear God’s voice more clearly, we must regularly receive the sacraments, pray daily, and practice our faith. Like any good activity in our lives we must practice in order to become proficient. Bishop Barron has spoken often about how much time, money, and effort we expend to become great at our jobs, sports, video games, and other wordly activities, and yet many of us do not apply the same sustained effort to improve our relationship with our Creator, which is vastly more important.
Much has been written on discerning the voice of God. I recommend books and show segments on EWTN by Timothy Gallagher. But fundamentally God’s voice brings love, mercy, and peace. It never tells you you are a bad person, because God loves you unconditionally. You are His child. He made you. He would never suggest you sin, and He will never reject you when you do sin. He may ask you to repent, but it is always out of love. He is a good Father.
May God bless you, and guide you on your path to recovery.
-Ad maiorem Dei gloriam