How can I deal with silence from God?

Have you ever hit a patch where your faith seemed stagnant? No matter how hard you tried, it didn’t seem like God was ever listening or answering your pleas? You worked to grow in relationship with him, but it felt more like talking to a wall? You’re not alone in experiencing spiritual dryness—a lack of consolation and spiritual feeling, especially during prayer—even some well-known saints battled long bouts silence from God.

Nick called from Salt Lake City, Utah, to ask Father Richard Simon of Father Simon SaysTM how he personally deals with silence from God. Fr. Simon offered the following reflection:

“The Blessed Sacrament—for me that always does the trick even if I don’t feel it. That idea that it’s a real presence, that means it’s real whether I feel it or not. And I just like to go find a place where I can sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament quietly, just like a quiet church and sit in front of the tabernacle. It doesn’t have to be exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

“We have these experiences in our life. The Lord with the Twelve, you know when he said, ‘Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood…’ to the crowd that was following, everybody went, this guy is crazy and they began to leave him! And he turned to the Twelve and he said, ‘Will you also leave?’ And Peter said, ‘Where would we go? You have the words of everlasting life.’

“And I think that’s where Judas made up his mind and said, this guy is going to get us killed and I need to get out of this mess. And he began to think, I’m not getting anything out of this – maybe all these miracles were just crowd hysteria and that sort of thing.

“Because there are different times in our life when the Lord says, ‘If there’s nothing in this for you—no joy, no consolation, not even heaven when you die, would you still follow me? Nothing, nothing. Would you still follow me?’ That’s what happened to the Twelve. And if you say, ‘Well, if there’s nothing I might find an easier religion, Lord,’ well then we were never really following in the first place. Now the advantages of faith are great, but those moments do come in our life when the Lord says, ‘Will you follow me even if there’s nothing in it for you?’ And our response is, ‘Lord, where would we go? You have the words of everlasting life.’

“So, if you can find a place where there’s a quiet church and a tabernacle, and even if you think the church is going to be quiet, bring a pair of emergency earplugs. And just sit there; just sit there in front of the tabernacle. You don’t even have to say anything. Just say, ‘Lord, here I am. Speak, your servant listens.’ And in good time, he will. That’s how I deal with it.”

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