Thursday, September 20, 2012

ON SUFFERING AND SPIRITUAL DARKNESS


Below is some wisdom from Mother Angelica’s AND Father Ciszek’s books that I read sometime in the past. I really needed some encouragement and it seems that I forgot everything I learned in these books already. So I needed a refresher.
 I can’t even focus on studying or doing anything else because I feel that my soul is in the darkness and that God is somewhere far, far away. I do not feel His closeness as usual. I don’t know what I feel. Emptiness. Because that’s all there is without God. Emptiness. Nothing. At least nothing of worth. Yes, there is the whole world of pleasures and transient joys, but I don’t want to go there. I will not find joy there. I have tasted the joy of the Lord, the true joy that can be felt down to the marrow of my bones and in the depths of my soul—and now my heart is restless and my soul is troubled. I’m in the darkness. I’m confused as to what is really happening.  Have I done something so terribly wrong that He is mad at me, or is this a trial He blessed me with in order that I learn and grow because of it? Maybe both. God only knows what is happening and I am sure it is happening for my good. I trust that it is. Since I am in this situation of darkness and internal suffering, it must be the Lord’s will for me at the moment. Perhaps this is a cleansing experience for me. Perhaps this is an experience that will significantly contribute to my spiritual growth. Perhaps the good Lord put me in this situation in order that I learn humility and trust—to realize that I am NOTHING without Him—and that only He can provide me with light and strength and courage. For now, all I can do is trust that this is for my good and a part of God’s plan for me. Meanwhile, I find courage and consolation in these excerpts below:



(These are books I read in the past. I always highlight all the excerpts that stand out to me and teach me important lessons. I will post a review on both of these books in the near future.)



From Mother Angelica’s  Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality

If God wants to draw me higher spiritually, He has to create a situation in which I can get there. He creates a hunger within you, and you yearn for spiritual food. They only way to feed your soul, to mold it and change it, is to give you this hunger. You must absolutely have a hunger before God can grow in your soul.



Sometimes I am so cold and in such darkness that I merely look to Heaven and plead for light. That’s a prayer of faith. A lot of people think that faith is all joy. Faith is sometimes scary.



How are you going to grow in faith if you don’t have darkness? How are you going in trust if there is no crisis?



When things seem lost: trust. Sometimes we have to get very low before God will bring us up again.



Do you really believe God loves you? If you do, you know that everything that happens in your life is for you good. And it isn’t always a peaceful experience.



God’s Will is never inactive. It is only inactive to you, because you cannot see further than your nose. God’s providence is ever working and bearing fruit. When you pray, God has heard it. When the Lord refuses you, or nothing seems to be happening, something is happening. We may see no solution to our problems and no relief in sight, but faith is always there to assure us that in the end, we will triumph.



From Fr. Ciszek’s book He Leadeth me

For every man’s life contains its share of suffering; each of us is occasionally driven almost to despair, to ask why God allows evil and suffering to overtake him or those he loves…I had learned in those darkest of hours to turn to God for consolation and to trust in him alone.



Somehow then, God must contrive to break through those routines of ours and remind us once again, like Israel, that we are ultimately dependent only upon him, that he has made us and destined us for life with him through all eternity…that we must look to him and turn to him in everything. Then it is, perhaps, that he must allow our whole world to be turned upside down in order to remind us it is not our permanent abode or final destiny, to bring us to our senses and restore our sense of values, to turn our thoughts once more to him—even it at first our thoughts are questioning and full of reproaches.



No situation is ever without its worth and purpose in God’s providence. It is a very human temptation to feel frustrated by circumstances, to feel overwhelmed and helpless in the face of the established order—whether that order is an NKVD prison, or the whole Soviet system, or “the status quo,”…or the whole, oppressive rotten world!

 




And when I’m feeling discouraged and tired of the fight, I can’t help but repeat to myself over and over again Jesus’ words of encouragement:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry."  Matthew 11:28

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