Amid "Dark Night" and Trials, God Loves Us, Says Pope

Comments on Isaiah 42 at General Audience

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 2, 2003 ( When God seems to be silent amid oppression, injustice and suffering, he still loves human beings and comes to their aid when invoked, says John Paul II.

«To discover, with the eyes of faith, this divine presence in space and time, but also in ourselves, is the source of hope and trust, even when our heart is troubled and shaken,» the Pope said during today’s general audience.

In the presence of several thousand pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope reflected on the canticle in Chapter 42 of the Book of Isaiah, which mentions the mysterious «silence of God,» an experience of the believer in times of trial.

«The prophet makes us conscious of the fact that even when [God] seems to be silent before oppression, injustice or other forms of evil that touch man, he never ceases to love man and comes to his aid if man turns to him in trust,» the Pope said in the summary he gave in Polish.

«It might seem to the believer, especially if he bears the weight of a painful experience, that God is silent,» he added. «Even the great mystical saints experienced this state, which St. John of the Cross called the ‘dark night of the soul.'»

«The prophet Isaiah teaches us that, whoever believes with confidence, despite everything, that God is near and acts, will survive the time of trial and will give thanks to God with joy for his constant love, which delivers from all evil,» he said.

God’s silence does not indicate «absence, almost as if leaving history in the hands of the perverse, while the Lord remains indifferent and impassible,» the Holy Father said during the main address in Italian.

When the trial is over, the eyes of the believer, «who was blind are opened, so that he can enjoy the bright light. The way becomes easy, and hope flowers, making it possible to continue to trust in God and in his future of peace and happiness,» the Pontiff continued.

Therefore, the believer «must know how to discern the signs of divine action, even when it is hidden by the apparently monotonous and pointless flow of time.»

John Paul II concluded by quoting the Italian-born theologian Romano Guardini (1885-1968).

Guardini said that «the earth is pervaded by a cosmic ecstasy: There is in it an eternal reality and presence that, however, normally is asleep under the veil of custom. The eternal reality must now reveal itself, as in an epiphany of God, through all of that which exists.»

The Pope’s address was part of his series of meditations on the Psalms and canticles of the Old Testament, which may be consulted in the «Wednesday’s Audience» section of ZENIT’s Web page.

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