THE DARK NIGHT
Posted on by Mark
St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus
YOU know her for her roses and the simplicity of her spirituality. But fewer know her for the utter darkness she walked in before her death. Suffering from tuberculosis, St. Thérèse de Lisieux admitted that, if she didn’t have faith, she would have committed suicide. She said to her bedside nurse:
At one point, St. Thérèse seemed to prophesy the temptations that would come that we are now experiencing in our generation—that of a “new atheism”:
Many of the new atheists today point toward St. Thérèse, Mother Teresa, etc. as proof that these were no great saints, but merely atheists in disguise. But they are missing the point (aside from having no comprehension of mystical theology): these saints did not commit suicide in their darkness, but, in fact, became icons of peace and joy, despite the purification they were going through. In fact, Thérèse testified:
God deprives the soul of feeling His presence so that the soul detaches itself more and more from itself and creatures, preparing it for union with Him while sustaining the soul with an interior peace “that surpasses all understanding.” 
This seeming “abandonment” by God is really not abandonment at all since the Lord never, ever leaves His Bride. But it remains nonetheless a painful “dark night of the soul.” 
At the beginning of my writing apostolate, as the Lord began to teach me about what was coming, I understood that the Church must now, as a body, pass through the “dark night of the soul”. That we are collectively going to enter a period of purgation in which, like Jesus on the Cross, we will feel as though the Father has abandoned us.
So what shall we do?
The answer is to lose yourself. It is to continue following the will of God in everything. When Archbishop Francis Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận was locked away for thirteen years in Communist prisons, he learned the “secret” of walking in the darkness of suffering and seeming abandonment.
Yes, this is what St. Thérèse meant by being “little.” But being little does not mean being a spiritual wimp. As Jesus says, we need, in fact, to be resolute:
So let us beg Jesus to give us the grace to be resolute, to not give up or cave into the “temptation to be normal“, to go along with the flow of the world and allow the lamp of our faith to become extinguished. These are the days of perseverance… but all of Heaven is on our side.
First published September 30th, 2014.
Support Mark’s full-time ministry:
To journey with Mark in The Now Word,
click on the banner below to subscribe.
Your email will not be shared with anyone.
Now on Telegram. Click:
Follow Mark and the daily “signs of the times” on MeWe:
Follow Mark’s writings here:
Listen on the following: