Donate now

John Paul II Reflects on God´s Silence

“The Lord Is Not an Impassive Emperor,” He Says

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 13, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II focused his general-audience meditation today on a perennial mystery: why God often seems to be silent amid suffering in personal lives.

The Pope spoke of the anguish that sometimes touches the lives of believers: “When pain reaches the limit, and one wishes that the chalice of suffering be removed, words explode and become a lacerating question.”

“This cry questions the mystery of God and his silence,” the Holy Father told the pilgrims gathered in Paul VI Hall.

He acknowledged that such silence can bring on a crisis of faith, prompting queries such as “Is God denying his love and his election? Has he forgotten the past when he sustained us and made us happy?”

The Holy Father repeated these questions when he meditated on Psalm 76(77). He was continuing a more than yearlong series of addresses on the Psalms and Old Testament canticles that make up part of the Liturgy of the Hours.

“Just as dark days appear, in which the sky is covered with clouds threatening a storm, so our life experiences days full of tears and fear,” John Paul II said. “This is why, already at dawn, prayer becomes a lament, a supplication, an invocation for help.”

In those moments, prayer becomes “a cry for help … directed to a seemingly mute heaven, the hands are raised in supplication, the heart is overwhelmed by desolation,” the Pope said.

Yet, for the Psalmist, “the Lord is not an impassive emperor, relegated to his luminous heavens, indifferent to our affairs,” John Paul II emphasized.

“If this were the case, God would be unrecognizable, he would become a cruel being,” the Pope said. In the second part of the Psalm, “one sings about the salvation of the past, which had its epiphany of light in creation and in deliverance from the slavery of Egypt,” John Paul II continued.

“The bitter present is illuminated by the past salvific experience, which is a seed planted in history: It is not dead, but only buried, and will sprout later,” the Holy Father stressed.

This “memorial” of God´s works “is not just a vague consoling memory, but the certainty of divine action that will not come to naught,” he insisted.

“To profess faith in the works of salvation of the past leads to faith in what the Lord is constantly and, therefore, also in the present,” the Pope explained. “So the present, which seemed without a way out and without light, is illuminated by faith in God and opens to hope.” He added: “God will return to lead us to salvation.”

About ZENIT Staff

Share this Entry

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation