“And he said to him, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by. And there was a great and strong wind, tearing apart the mountains, and crushing the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, there was an
earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, there was a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire, there was the whisper of a gentle breeze.” Kings 19 11-12
“The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” Habakkuk 2:20
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
“He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord…” John 1:23
“So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.” But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed. Mark 15:4-5
“When he opened the 7th seal, there was silence in heaven for about one half hour”. Revelation 8:1
Elijah the Prophet
The term holy patience comes to mind when I read these Scripture passages. In Kings, the Prophet of the Lord, Elijah was hunted down by Jezebel for being zealous for the Lord. He escaped being killed by unfaithful Israelites, who tore down God’s altars, killed all the other prophets and worshiped Baal. Strengthened by bread and water from an angel, Elijah travelled 40 days and nights to Mount Horeb, where he encountered God in a gentle breeze and is assured of victory.
How often do we find ourselves trying to escape something or someone unpleasant? Do we find refreshment in prayer, the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist? Do we always turn to the Lord (our Bread from Heaven) for help and the Holy Spirit (our Living Water) for guidance? Do we trust enough?
Poor Habakkuk always complained to God. He was so tormented. He called out to God for help against all the evil and injustice and asked God directly why He tolerates it all.
Do we find ourselves frustrated with evil and ponder why God allows it? God basically told Habakkuk that He is in charge and He will take care of everything. Can we allow God to be God when faced with injustice, intolerance, illness or when our prayers don’t get answered the way we would like them answered?
John the Prophet
Do we doubt sometimes? Shouldn’t we know with all certainty the truths of our faith? Shouldn’t John the Baptist have known? Did the Apostles know? I know Mary knew. If you ever have questions, fear not, you are in great company.
John is considered the last of the Old Testament prophets. He met the same fate as the other faithful prophets of old. He was imprisoned. While awaiting execution, he began to question his belief in his cousin Jesus. He sent out messengers to Jesus to ask if He is the one.
Wasn’t this the same John who leaped for joy in the womb of Elizabeth? Wasn’t it John who recognized Jesus as the Messiah proclaiming “Behold the Lamb of God”? Didn’t John baptize Jesus in the Jordan protesting that it was Jesus who should baptize him? Didn’t John experience the Blessed Trinity when the dove descended upon the Lord and the Father’s voice spoke from heaven? Isn’t this the same John Jesus proclaimed the greatest man born of woman? And now John is questioning the Lord from prison. Jesus confirmed that he is the One. He said to the messengers “tell John the lame walk, the blind see, the dead rise and the poor have the Gospel proclaimed to them”.
Then there is Pilate who gets a deservedly ignominious mention every time the Nicene Creed is prayed. He questioned the Lord over and over but Jesus did not answer him. Do we find it difficult to remain quiet sometimes in the face of someone trying to incite us with false accusations or gossip? I find that imitating Jesus by not giving oxygen to a dead situation or lost cause is almost always the best way to silence critics and extinguish negativity.
Finally, the Book of Revelation declares that after the 7th Seal was opened there was silence in heaven for about half an hour followed by an angel with a censer and incense representing the prayers of the saints. Do we take time to be silent before the Lord, especially in Eucharistic adoration? Do we pray often to insure that the angel from Revelation has plenty of incense for that censer?
I have personally experienced and witnessed many wonderful miracles. At Mass I get to witness the miracle of Transubstantiation which we can take for granted mostly because like on Mount Horeb God comes quietly at the request of the priest not with bolts of lightning. I witnessed the manifestation of the Holy Spirit at a Mass offered by Father Zudak the Stigmatic. When the sound of a great wind filled the auditorium, it reminded me of Pentecost. I witnessed the quiet healing of a crippled boy’s legs by Fr. Suarez a healing priest from the Philippines. A boy, with mangled legs hobbled on crutches up to the altar where Father Suarez was praying over people sitting in chairs. He said nothing and no one paid attention to him. He made his way to an empty chair on the altar and waited. Eventually Father Suarez went over to him and without saying a word he knelt down praying quietly as he held the boys legs and straightened them out. He said something quietly to the boy and he simply got up left his crutches and walked out of the church in perfect health. Father Suarez went on to praying over the next person. The crutches remained on the altar. There was no announcement of a healing, shouting or fanfare. God works quietly.
It was October 20, 2006 and God allowed me to witness another of His quiet miracles. It was announced after Mass that a Right to Life group led by an elderly priest was gathering to pray outside an abortion clinic yards away from our Church. I went to pray with them. It was cold and we were smack dab on a strip of grass in the middle of two streets leading to Route 9 a main highway. A woman handed me a blanket with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which I held in front of me. We prayed the Holy Rosary facing the entrance to the clinic. Many people in cars drove by and shouted out profanities at us or beeped their horns in approval or disapproval. One young man in a car slowed down as he approached us. He came to a virtual stop and threw a cup full of ice at the priest who was beside me. As if stopped by an invisible shield, the cup simply fell on the road. The car sped away. I was amazed and shocked. The car was only about 12 inches away from us and I saw no rational explanation for the cup simply falling to the ground. I asked the the man next to me if he saw what I just saw. He said, “yes” and without missing a beat, kept praying “Hail Mary full of Grace…”
They know God is in His Holy Temple. They know Jesus is Lord and the victory is His. They know Mary knew. And I learned that day the meaning of Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
These Scripture passages illustrate that often times the people of God struggle with injustice caused by not such nice people. They were abused, suffered injury, death, hardship and appear to be the most abandoned by God while the bad actors seem to get away scot free. Yet in each instance there is God with a gentle breeze, a promise and a victory in the end. It is ok for faithful people to have doubts even when they witness God in so many ways as John did, or to complain when they get fed up with injustices in the world as Habakkuk did, or to remain silent when someone falsely accuses them as Jesus did. Let us add our prayers to the incense offered up after the 7th Seal is broken even if we can only muster up His Holy Name and in the face of it all to be silent and know that God is in His Holy Temple. And Keep your eyes open for God’s quiet miracles, they are all around us.
“Pray, hope and don’t worry”. Padre Pio
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