We live in a society with a lot of noise, and it is not just environmental noise, but a lot of spiritual noise as well. Although the noise of traffic, planes flying overhead, and construction in the street, fills our environment, it is perhaps the spiritual noise that affects us the most. It causes instability in our soul and our spirit. This type of noise does not allow us to find inner peace and distracts us from seeing others with eyes of love and respect. Furthermore, it is spiritual noise that prevents us from hearing or seeing God. Instead, it moves us away from him.
Bitterness, grudges, indifference, selfishness, fear, and vanity are only part of an infinite list of inner noises. The question that many of us ask is, “How can we combat these noises?”
Many years ago, when I was only thirteen years old, I experienced an incident that marked my life forever. At the time, I was visiting my grandfather who lived in the countryside of the Dominican Republic. There was no electricity and the radio signal was very difficult to attain. During that visit, I remember my uncle wanted to listen to a radio station that played music originally from the Dominican Republic. His radio was battery-powered, and the antenna was a long piece of wire that had to be lifted and positioned in the most awkward ways to secure a radio signal. That day, I had to lift the radio wire and follow my uncle’s instructions. Holding onto the wire, I had to place myself in different parts of the house, to see if we could somehow receive the signal from the radio station. That was quite a spectacle! I remember my uncle’s instructions, “To the right. Move a bit further. Raise the cable higher. Don’t move!” until finally, the signal came in; however, the signal was very weak and had a lot of radio static noise. I, with my arm raised, could not move because if I did, the signal would be lost. There was nothing left but to concentrate on the voice of the announcer or focus on the song that was playing because the static noise was louder than the music or the announcer’s voice.
Amid the laughter produced from the whole spectacle of trying to secure a radio signal, my grandfather looked at us with joy in his eyes and said, “My children, this is how we have to learn to seek and listen to God.” My grandfather added, “Among the noise, God is talking to us. We have to be patient and find a place in the house, or perhaps in our workplace, and for a few minutes raise our prayer antenna. Then, in the middle of all the noise, listen only to God’s voice, concentrate only on him. We should not allow the noises that try to pull us away from him, keep us from being still, from seeing or hearing his voice.”
That day, I learned that in the midst of our environmental and spiritual noises, God is speaking to us. All we have to do is seek out his voice and focus on him. When we do this, we notice that the noises that were preventing us from hearing or seeing God begin to disappear and we can actually communicate with him. Prayer, reading, and reflecting on the word of God, are the antennas of communication with him.
Now, when I need to hear the voice of God, but the internal and environmental noises are clamoring for my attention, I remember that I have to go back to being like that child, who with the antenna on hand and his arm raised patiently, tried to connect to the radio signal. I need to look for a place in my house or my workplace, raise my arms and my heart, and remain still so I can patiently listen for the signal – God’s voice.
Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Deacon Franklin came to know Christ as a child thanks to his grandfather, Nicasio Mejía. Nicasio introduced Franklin to the spiritual life and the doctrine of the Catholic faith. Because of this, Franklin was a very active member of the Salesian youth groups in his community from a very young age and, as he grew older, he received training to become a youth leader.
Upon arriving in the United States, Franklin worked for the Hispanic Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese of Boston organizing sports tournaments, youth leadership training programs, and an outreach ministry dedicated to visiting youth in prison. Deacon Franklin’s passion for evangelization led him to Catholic Television, where he was the host and producer of “Good News.” His desire to evangelize through the media was inspired by Pope John Paul II, who encouraged the Church to use all media to present Christ to others.
Ordained in 2014, Deacon Franklin was assigned to Sacred Hearts Parish in Malden and he continues his work at the Catholic Television Network, Boston in charge of the production of The Holy Mass.
He has been happily married to his wife, Wendy, for 18 years and they are the proud parents of Gabriel Andres, 17 and Isabella María, 13.