Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.
Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.”
The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Philip is sent south onto “a wilderness road.” Without any uncertainty, he sets out in faith, and the Spirit nudges him into a life-giving encounter with the eunuch.
St. Ignatius believed that God speaks to us through our deepest desires and attractions. The eunuch desired to know more about God, and his curiosity about the prophetic passage from Isaiah prompts him to invite Philip into his chariot. His faith set aflame by Philip’s testimony, he desires baptism.
Our desires, like the eunuch’s, make us curious, nudge us, or pull us with an almost magnetic attraction. For example, a desire to help the homeless prompts you to consider an invitation to join a homeless ministry. Invitations like this may seem to fall into your lap—or into your chariot as the eunuch experienced. But that’s just the way God’s Spirit works!
How is God nudging you to act on a deep desire he’s planted within your heart?
—Diane Amento Owens is a spiritual director who encourages her directees to see the world through the lens of Ignatian spirituality.
Beckoning God, you call me down many wilderness roads, but uncertainty often keeps me from taking a single step. Accompany me on every journey. Nudge me forward in faith through the guidance of your Holy Spirit and the encouragement of fellow travelers. May I always desire to walk more closely with you. Amen.
—Diane Amento OwensPlease share the Good Word with your friends!