I remember sitting vigil at the bedside of a dear friend a few years ago. She was resting quietly, and as I looked at her beautiful face, I thought, “I wish I could hear her voice, just one more time.”

Sometimes, God answers prayers right away.

As I sat there in the quiet and darkness of her room, she opened her eyes and we had our last conversation together.

I have forgotten the tone of her voice, but not its kindness.

Voices are a funny thing because they are so unique to each one of us.

I can remember my high school English teacher so well. She had jet black hair pulled back in a bun, she stood about four foot ten inches tall, and she was fierce! I’ll never forget her calling us to order with two small words: “Now, girls.” It always worked. She ruled her classroom with her voice. No one dared cross her or question her.

My dad died when I was 17, and for an entire year after his death, I thought I heard his voice when I was out in a crowd. When that sensation vanished, I remember being so sad because I realized that I would never hear him speak again.

When my two children were young adults, I could recognize their moods just by the first word of their phone calls. “Mom” could mean happy news or concern. I could hear it in the inflection of their voices. I still can.

Voices are powerful instruments. We can use them to coo, to scream, to coax, to agree. We can use them to be polite or rude. We can use them to be kind or cutting. They can build bridges or destroy them.

We use them our entire lives without realizing their power.

Think of two of the angels that we have met in the bible

Archangel Gabriel was chosen to deliver messages to Daniel, Zechariah and the Blessed Mother. He said of himself, “I am Gabriel, who stands before God.” That vision is chilling, and I wonder if his voice is too!

Archangel Michael is known as the protector of Israel and the guardian of the Church. We know that he was in a battle with Satan over the body of Moses. I think his voice must sound like thunder!

Mothers. Fathers. Sisters. Brothers. Grandparents. Friends. They each have a unique place in our lives, much of it through the spoken word.

Perhaps the most important voice we will ever hear will speak these words at the end of our days: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”