When God is silent

What sense can we make of those times when God is silent?  Does that mean that He is absenting Himself from our lives?  Pope Benedict profoundly reflected on this a couple of weeks ago during his Wednesday audience:

“Often in our prayer, we find ourselves before the silence of God; we experience a sense of abandonment; it seems to us that God is not listening and that He does not respond.  But this silence of God–as Jesus also experienced–is not a sign of His absence.  The Christian knows well that the Lord is present and that he is listening, even in the darkness of suffering, rejection and solitude.  . . . God knows us intimately, more deeply than we know ourselves, and He loves us: and knowing this should suffice.  In the Bible, Job’s experience is particularly significant in this regard.  This man quickly loses everything: family, wealth, friends, health; it seems that God’s attitude towards him is precisely one of abandonment, of total silence.  And yet Job, in his relationship with God, speaks with God, cries out to God; in his prayer, despite everything, he preserves his faith intact and, in the end, he discovers the value of his experience and of God’s silence.  And thus, in the end, turning to his Creator, he is able to conclude: ‘I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee’ (Job 42.5): nearly all of us know God only through hearsay, and the more we are open to His silence and to our silence, the more we begin to know Him truly.  This supreme confidence, which opens way to a profound encounter with God, matures in silence.  St. Francis Severio prayed, saying to the Lord: I love you, not because you can give me heaven or condemn me to hell, but because You are my God.  I love You because You are You.”

And God says in turn to each of us: “I love you because you are you.”

2 thoughts on “When God is silent

  1. John of the Cross: “Wisdom enters through love, silence, and morfication. It is great wisdom to know how to be silent.”

    No wonder God is silent!

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