Elder Patrick Kearon Speaks to BYU Students about Receiving Messages of Love
By Lok Yi Chan, Church News and Events
- We are often so busy receiving other messages that we impair our ability to receive heavenly messages.
- The most important message we can receive is a reminder of who we are and of Heavenly Father’s and Jesus Christ’s for love us.
- The time to act is now.
“Our Eternal Father has not let any of us leave home, leave His presence, without the opportunity to access His love and His guidance every day of our lives.”—Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy
At a BYU devotional held on Tuesday, February 14, 2012, Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy addressed students about receiving messages and revelation from Heavenly Father.
The talk, titled “Messages of Love,” encouraged students to put aside the barriers between them and Heavenly Father and become ready to listen to the small, quiet messages He delivers.
As we, the children of God, walk on earth to be proven and to see if we will do whatsoever the Lord commands us (see Abraham 3:25), Elder Kearon pointed out, our spirits may yearn to be where they belong the best; we may feel homesick for our eternal home. However, he continued, we are not alone.
“Our Eternal Father has not let any of us leave home, leave His presence, without the opportunity to access His love and His guidance every day of our lives,” Elder Kearon said.
“As we repeatedly respond to the Light of Christ and train ourselves to ‘lay hold upon every good thing’ (Moroni 7:19),” he went on, “we increase our sensitivity to the things of the Spirit and enhance our ability to receive the messages coming to us from our eternal home.”
Yet despite the Lord’s generous offer allowing us to commune with Him “as often as we choose,” (see Henry B. Eyring, “Exhort Them to Pray,” Ensign, Feb. 2012, 4), Elder Kearon explained, we are often “so busy receiving other messages that we impair our ability to receive the much-needed messages from our eternal home.”
On the other hand, we cannot force heavenly messages. The Lord decides when, where, what, and how to communicate with us. We have to wait upon Him, Elder Kearon said.
“But even as we wait upon the Lord, we continue to pursue Him and to persist in our petitions,” he added.
He then mentioned three of the many conditions that affect our ability to receive heavenly messages.
The Cares of Daily Life and the Clamor of the World
Sometimes we may not mean to be occupied by the hustle and bustle of life, Elder Kearon said, and we may not even realize we are occupied. But occasionally our hearts become burdened with everyday life, and that’s when our ability to commune with God is affected.
“We must each find, and then guard, a time each and every day to remember these words of the Lord: ‘All flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God’ (D&C 101:16, emphasis added),” he said. “A segment of time when we can be still, quiet, and removed from the busyness of our lives will help to re-center us, refocus our priorities, and bring us back into a position where we can receive and feel the messages our Heavenly Father wishes to send us. … But we must make the choice to make it happen by putting Him first.”
Sin and Unworthiness
Sin and unworthiness no doubt place barriers between our hearts and God, Elder Kearon said. “Sometimes a heart can carry sin for so long that it becomes desensitized to spiritual things,” he said, “and becomes incapable of receiving and feeling the messages of the Lord.”
Nephi taught that the Lord does nothing save it be for the benefit of the world, and He “layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him” (2 Nephi 26:24). We should therefore also repent of our sins, give Him our whole heart, whole mind, and all our strength, Elder Kearon said.
He cited Doctrine and Covenants 58:42, where Christ promises that He will not remember the sins of those who have repented, and then asked, “Can we ever hear this promise too often?”
“He offered up His life for you,” he continued. “You can offer back your heart.”
A Poor Digital Diet
“Spending too much of our time with social media, celebrity or entertainment news, games, and the pursuit of online, time-hungry activities constitute a poor digital diet,” Elder Kearon said.
He explained that as we consume the opinions and attitudes of the mass media, our viewpoints and values will conform to them—and that most of the time we don’t even realize it is happening.
Therefore, he said, we have to be aware that the content we consume from the mass media may contain messages that cause us to “doubt our faith, compromise our convictions, and view the world through cynical eyes.”
“But,” he continued, “we can deflect deceptive messages with our faith intact if we are connected in a vibrant, continuous stream to the source of truth, to the source of light,” Elder Kearon said.
Elder Kearon concluded by reemphasizing the importance of putting aside the barriers between our hearts and the Lord.
“The most important message any of us could receive or carry is a reminder of who we are and how we are loved by our Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ,” he said. “[Heavenly Father] lives, and He loves you, adores you, cherishes you—each and every one of you … especially those of you who may be thinking, ‘Well, not me.’ He especially loves you.”
As we examine the conditions of our hearts and the barriers that block our communication with God, Elder Kearon said, we will know what we need to know and what we need to change. “The time to act is now.”
“Be bold in choosing to remove any obstruction to the sweet, comforting, guiding messages of love from your Heavenly Father,” Elder Kearon said. “We are drawn back to [Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ]—back to Their love, back to Their light, and back to Their arms.”