I can’t hear you Lord.

Sometimes it happens, try as we might to hear God, we just don’t feel that God is speaking to us. We can pray all we want, but it just seems to go on a big pile of unanswered prayers. God is silent.

Mother Teresa’s memoirs tell us of God’s silence in her life for over twenty years. Unfortunately, many give up on praying. We don’t stop believing in God and trying to do the right thing. We just stop turning to God in prayer.

Jesus said, “Pray to your Father in secret and your Father who sees you in secret will repay you . . . he knows what you need even before you ask him.” Mt. 6: 6-8. And “Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find.

Knock and it will be opened to you.” Mt. 7:7 Jesus could have just as well said,”you’ll hear back I promise”.

So, why does it seem at times we don’t hear back from God? Maybe the problem is with us. Somehow we”re not “dialed in” to God’s frequency. He’s speaking, but we don’t have the receptors to hear him. Or, perhaps some-thing is blocking our hearing.

Below is a list of things that people do or experience that make hearing God’s whisper unlikely. It’s hard to hear you Lord because…

  • There is no silence in my life. I fill my every moment with gadgets that make noise, give useless information, or provide distraction. God speaks in the quiet of our heart. “Be still and know that I am God.”
  • My image of God is one that keeps me from wanting to meet him. (It can be an unhappy image of “father” because my own father was absent or angry or stern). Jesus the Good Shepherd is our image of God.
  • Sin. I’m living a life in which I consciously turn to sinful actions. I cling to an evil behavior that gives me comfort. Gradually it keeps me from feeling God’s “quickening” impulses in my heart.
  • Resentment. Perhaps I’ve been holding a grudge or a prejudice or a hatred because of some wrong done to me. Get rid of it. Ask God for the grace to let go of it. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Resentment in the heart is too loud for us to hear God.
  • Shame. There’s something in my life that makes me ashamed of myself. I feel there’s something in me that God hates me for, and I can’t bear to have that touched or exposed. That’s why I keep the TV on all the time. Stop hiding from God like Adam and Eve in the Garden. Let him see you. Warts and all. Confession is a healing balm for shame.
  • Sometimes God can appear to be silent because He’s weaning us from our feelings. You see early on in our relationship with God there can be moments, wonderful moments of insight, or emotional consolation. God gives us these to encourage us on the path to a relationship with him. Not only do we “know about” God, but now we are “in Love” with him.

God can withdraw these consolations leaving us feeling alone, like he has forgotten us. Not so! It’s important to recognize this “silence of God” as a way of purifying our prayer. We can become attached to the warm feelings about God and our love for him . . . so much so that our hunger is for these feelings . . . not for God. This silence must be seen as a great step forward – an invitation to draw closer to him with purified hearts. The psalm captures this when it says, “like a weaned child on its mother’s breast, so my soul rests in you oh Lord.”

Whatever may be happening to make you feel as if God is not speaking to you, there is one sure way to proceed. Be patient, keep praying. God knows your need even before you ask – – trust this. THEN you will hear, in time, God’s word to you.

Summer blessings.

Fr. Tim



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