The Lord called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”

1 Samuel 3:4

Monday, 18 January 2021

1 Samuel 3:3-10

About seventy years ago, a young United States English scholar turned expert on myth, legend and comparative religion, Joseph Campbell, observed a common pattern in the secular and religious literature of almost every culture. According to Campbell, most great myths and legends that are centred on an individual follow a common pattern he calls the Hero’s Journey. It begins with the central character leaving home or being drawn away to pursue some kind of quest (the Call to Adventure).

The story of Samuel is the story of one such hero’s call, a call to prophecy. It begins in a place of familiarity for the hero – in his case, the Temple. Everything is normal. Samuel’s position is clear, but suddenly everything is disrupted by God, who has other plans for the young hero.

Most of us, I suspect, will not experience such a dramatic bit of divine intervention in our lives. (Personally I say “Thank God!” because such a moment can often be quite creepy, I am told). In many cases the call happens when our world is disrupted. Old certainties are gone, the path we have chosen for ourselves is no longer as clear as we’d imagined. The very world we live in may be suddenly changed.

Do we see such disruption (like, say, a pandemic that changes how many of us do our work and live our lives) as a nuisance, a catastrophe even? Or do we seek in such ‘chaos’ an opportunity to grow, to imagine something new, an invitation even to embark on our personal Hero’s Journey?

Loving God,

Open us to see in moments of disruption opportunity; May we even see how they offer us a sign of your call; May we respond like Samuel with generosity.


Fr Anthony Egan SJ

Fr Anthony Egan SJ (born Cape Town 1966; entered the Jesuits 1990; ordained 2002) has taught, full-time or part-time, at St Augustine College of South Africa, St John Vianney Seminary, Fordham University (on sabbatical) and the University of the Witwatersrand. The author/co-author of a number of books, book chapters, academic and popular articles, he is a correspondent for America magazine, a contributor to Worldwide and writes for He is also a commentator on local and international radio and television. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation. Extramural interests include Science Fiction, Theatre, Art and creative writing, including poetry.
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