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When Jesus Is Silent
Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest
Then Jesus went from that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.
Opening Prayer: Loving Father, on this day I offer to you all my heart, all my soul, everything I have and do. Through the intercession of St. John Vianney, give me both the grace to pray well and conversion of heart so I love you more and more.
- The Silence of Jesus: The experience of God’s silence can be hard to understand. But we must know that Jesus is gazing at us, loving us. And when he finds love and faith in our hearts, we are able to receive not only what we need but all of the gifts he plans to give us. Silence is a language we must learn and practice. “In our prayers we often find we are confronted by God’s silence, we feel, as it were, let down; it seems to us that God neither listens nor responds. Yet God’s silence, as happened to Jesus, does not indicate his absence. Christians know well that the Lord is present and listens, even in the darkness of pain, rejection, and loneliness” (Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, March 7, 2012).
- He Got the Best From the Canaanite: Jesus was not absent to this woman, but was giving her a better gift because silence can work to purify us of our earthly thoughts, selfishness, vanity, human trust, and pride. By silence, he tests and strengthens us. What are we able to give him in return? A stronger faith? Patience? Abandonment?
- Oh, Son of David: The silence of God is never indifferent toward us, but full of love and compassion. He knows us much better than we can know ourselves. The woman, by using the phrase “Son of David,” a messianic title, made an act of faith. She surrendered to the Lord. Jesus read faith in her heart and in silence loved her. In love, he healed her daughter.
Conversing with Christ: I love you, O my God and my sole desire is to love you until the last breath of my life. I love you, O infinitely lovable God and I prefer to die loving you than live one instant without loving you (extract of “Act of Love” by St. John Vianney).
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will examine my conscience well and try to go to confession this week.
For Further Reflection: The Cure of Ars, by Mary Fabyan Windeatt.
Father Bernardo Torres, LC, was born and raised in Mexico City. He has certifications for couple’s therapy and currently works in Louisiana with young adults helping them to grow deeper in their faith.