How Long, O Lord?

Saint John of the Cross

The Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 2

It is noteworthy that even though God has knowledge and understanding of all, and even sees the very thoughts of the soul, as Moses asserts (Dt. 31:21), it is said when he provides a remedy for us in our needs that he sees them, and when he answers our prayers that he hears them.

“Not all needs and petitions reach the point at which God, in hearing, grants them. They must wait until in his eyes they arrive at the suitable time, season, and number, and then it is said that he sees and hears them.”

This is evident in Exodus. After the 400 years in which the children of Israel had been afflicted by their slavery in Egypt, God declared to Moses: I have seen the affliction of my people and have come down to free them (Ex. 3:7-8), even though he had always seen it.

And St. Gabriel, too, told Zechariah not to fear, because God had heard his prayer and given him the son for whom he had prayed those many years, even though God had always heard that prayer (Lk. 1:13).

“Every soul should know that even though God does not answer its prayer immediately, he will not on that account fail to answer it at the opportune time if it does not become discouraged and give up its prayer” (St. John of the Cross).

He is, as David remarks, a helper in opportune times and tribulations (Ps. 9:9).

Don’t become discouraged and give up prayer, says St. John of the Cross. We offer two different novenas to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as well as novenas to St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, and St. Joseph.

Let us unite in prayer

John of the Cross, St. 1991, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

3 thoughts on “How Long, O Lord?

Add yours

  1. “…and love is not tried by ease and satisfaction.” Thank you for this great insight, it’s very encouraging. Some voices equate no immediate positive response with not being heard. It’s good to know that is not so.

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