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God’s Silence and Our Perseverance
Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin
Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’” The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I look forward to contemplating your word. I know that you have some grace in store for me during this time of prayer. Help me to be attentive. Increase in me the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. I also place all the souls you have entrusted to me into your hands during this prayer.
- The Silence of God: “Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.” Why would a God who loves us apparently ignore our prayer to the point of seeming like an indifferent judge whom we must consistently pester to get a hearing? Perhaps our own experience of prayer, heartfelt prayer, has raised such questions in our minds. Why does God so often seem silent? More than likely, our deafness is more often to blame than is God’s silence. We are distracted, worried, and often not recollected, so we can miss his sometimes subtle communications. His presence often is in the quiet breeze (1 Kings 19:12). It’s also possible that Our Lord wants to achieve something in us by having us wait for his reply.
- Perseverance in Prayer: When we must wait on the Lord, we have an opportunity to grow in a variety of ways. We can grow in patience, learning that God’s timing is not ours. We can grow in humility, realizing that God is in charge and that we are not. We can grow in our desire for that for which we ask. Additionally, we can grow in our confidence in God, realizing that whether we receive the requested favor or not, God knows best and only desires our good. Consequently, we are more at peace and willing to face all things, confident in his providential care.
- Desiring God above All Things: Perhaps the most important lesson we learn by waiting on God’s response to our prayer is to desire God above all things. Someone fully satisfied and content feels no need for help or change—no need for God. However, when we come face-to-face with a real need and acknowledge our insufficiency, we turn to God. We sometimes complain, “Why me?” Then we muster all the faith we have and ask, “Please Lord, give this to me.” Gradually, slowly, through frequent prayer, we begin to realize that while our practical need has not been met, God is present, and that he is sufficient. If we continue to persevere in prayer, we begin to desire God above all, regardless of our concrete circumstances. This is “seeking first the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33).
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, I have many practical needs–health, sustenance, harmony in my family–to name a few. Full of confidence in your providential care, I ask you to continue providing for all that I need. I thank you that you have always done so. May I never take your loving care for granted. However, may I also learn to desire you above any practical need, or even over any other person. May my love and desire for you grow so that my deepest longing is to be united to you and to do your will.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray in thanksgiving for the many gifts you have given me, and particularly for the gift of your friendship.
For Further Reflection: Read Prayer as Desire by Father Derek Sakowski, SpiritualDirection.com, March 2, 2021.