Many young people go on a retreat and feel an awakening to God’s presence in their life, but then comes a desert and times of long waiting. At this point, many give up the quest. They wonder why God doesn’t answer their prayers or continue to give them consolations.

A priest once told this story of Three Hunters. The first hunter paced the woods impatiently and made too much noise. He never was able to see a deer, because he made too much noise. The second hunter found a comfortable spot in the woods and went to sleep. Every couple of hours he would look up and check, but then would go back to sleep. He didn’t shoot a deer, because he wasn’t paying attention. The third hunter found a spot where he saw some tracks and then spent the day paying total attention to his surroundings. In spite of the cold and rain …he stayed in his position. Late in the afternoon he sighted a buck in the distance. He waited another hour for the creature to approach within range. He fired a shot and bagged the buck. What makes a good hunter? Well, he has to be a good shot, but more than that, he has to have perseverance and commitment and patience. What do you call the hunter who gets his buck in the first minute of the season?—a lucky hunter. Which hunter has more character, a lucky hunter or a good hunter? The answer will always be the good hunter.

For Discernment: Do you want to be a good pray-er (person who prays) or a lucky pray-er? If you want to be a good pray-er who will be able to lead others, then the only way for God to deal with you is to teach you patience and perseverance. Every person on the road of discernment will go through long times of waiting and even dryness. This way the Lord will teach you not just to love His consolations, but to love God for Himself. If you enter into these times with prayer and trust, the Lord will teach you first to be a good pray-er, and then He will reveal to you your mission. It cannot be otherwise.

Scripture: Hebrews 12.5-13: “Do not disdain the discipline of the Lord.” James 1.2-4: “Realize that when your faith is tested this makes for endurance.” II Corinthians 4.1-18: St. Paul tells how he is beaten down but never crushed. He grows in his hope in God.