Recognize God’s Voice

“Anthony! Anthony!”

That’s what Mary Fiumara shouted with her head peering out the 2nd story apartment window to start the 1970’s TV commercial for Prince spaghetti. The place was the North End of Boston. And even growing up in another part of Boston, we all believed that Wednesday really was spaghetti day in the North End.

You can find the commercial on YouTube. Once the boy hears his name, he’s shown running through the street near haymarket, then the camera shows the meal being prepared inside the apartment. The view goes back to Anthony running through the bocci courts, and back to the apartment as the spaghetti is almost ready. It’s back and forth like that until finally, his mother turns with a smile to the apartment doorway, and Anthony bursts in with a smile, exhausted. The point was that he knew that voice, and he knew something special was prepared for him: Prince spaghetti. That was what running home was all about.

It was genius marketing, and I mention it because I saw the video recently on YouTube, as I’m living now in the North End. And in the comments, one of the very first ones was, “A woman calls ‘Anthony’ out the window and only *one* kid comes running??” That got a lot of likes. But you know what, it makes a lot of sense to me. Because there may be a lot of people with your name.

But you recognize the voice of your mother.

When I was a kid, we kids played outside until we had to go home. That was either streetlights coming on, or our mother calling us. Every mother had a different way of calling.  My mother always stuck her head out the door and yelled the same thing: “Larry! Jerome! Come home!” There was no mistaking it. Even if you were too far away to make out the actual words, just the sound and cadence was enough to recognize it.

I have done a lot of good things in life. I have a master’s degree in engineering, where I worked my tail off and got top grades and won the top awards. I have a US patent for an invention. I helped design an aircraft carrier. I have owned property in one of the best places to live in the country. I have played sports and hit game-winning shots. I have helped people rebuild their homes and lives after natural disasters. I have taught and tutored and coached many young people and helped then to grow. I have accompanied and supported many seniors at the twilight of their lives. I have given myself and my time to people who have less, including traveling across to the other side of the hemisphere. I have helped countless people in life transitions with listening and groups and workshops. I have written books and a blog, been on TV and radio and the newspaper, built a website and YouTube channel and Facebook page. I’ve traveled to Europe and to South America. I play two musical instruments, I have learned another language and culture, and can add that to knowledge of physics, math, economics, psychology, and a whole gamut of computer technologies.

I can give myself a big pat on the back for all that.

But the best thing I ever did was this:

To learn to recognize the voice of God.

Because it’s when I could recognize the voice of God calling my name that I came alive. When I started to hear that voice and recognize it, I knew there was something special prepared for me. It’s then that I ran with what I was doing, filled with energy and purpose. It’s then that I knew I was going somewhere.

There’s nothing better that we can do in life than start to learn to recognize God’s voice. God calls each of us to Himself by name, and that voice makes us come alive. It fills us with energy and purpose in what we’re doing, and points us to the unique place that, from our very beginnings, our deepest desire has looked for.

Where something very special is prepared for us. A place we want to run to.


“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.”  (Jn 14:3)


Anthony Martignetti, who played the son in the commercial, has died. May he rest at home.

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