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We all encounter them. Those times in our lives when it is not just raining...it's pouring. We raise our hands to heaven, shielding our eyes from the deluge as it torrents down upon us.
"A little help here!" we call out through the roar, waiting anxiously for an answer. Sometimes the sunlight, responding to our cries, penetrates the wave of chaos clearly, enlightening our paths. At other times we strain but can't catch a glimpse of the light we believe is beyond the deluge. As well and like a typical monsoon, we often see glimpses of light followed by an even greater torrent.
To say that confusion and anxiety and at least a bit of fear rise to the top of our emotional ladders during these times would be an understatement. I know some who claim that the existence of these emotions during turmoil means that our faith is weak, and this weakness proves that our faith is not strong enough to stand the storm. Still, while in an objective sense this may be true, it is vital that we realize that there are so many more levels of reality that surround these times of weakness.
You may know those who have spent years struggling to "regain" the faith they felt they had lost. I have watched people whom I would consider advanced on their walk to holiness stumble painfully as doubt in their faith clouded their ability to move forward.
Why does this happen? Theologians and students of humanity itself could supply myriads of answers to this question. But, if I were to find a common bottom line to all of them, I would have to zero in on one basic truth...we are all human, subject to the original fall of man. In other words, no matter our position on our walk to holiness, moments of doubt, our own "dark moments of the soul," can occur. It can happen to each of us.
If we encounter these moments, are we disappointed in ourselves? Do we punish ourselves for being weak in our faith? To be sure, I would suggest that the suffering that naturally comes with doubt and fear brings enough of its own punishment. Do we lose confidence in ourselves or in what we had believed to be true? Do we become overwhelmed with the sense of loss and purposelessness to the point that we want to give up?
I pose these questions purposefully because they point to devices used regularly by the evil one himself.
However, there lies the paradox, and this paradox brings us much hope and strength.
In his attempt to bring about a complete fall of faith, Satan is actually providing a breeding ground for an advanced faith to grow: a reinforced, renewed, bold, and stalwart faith to continue on the path to holiness, and one that often becomes so transformative that it contains even more power to spread the Kingdom here on earth.
In his desire to bring down the soul and its impact on the world, he, in fact, provides a chance for it to be lifted up higher than it had ever been, igniting in it a fire that can spread further than its original embers could ever have.
So, today I write this blog post to encourage you to never lose heart if and when you or your loved ones encounter moments of weakness in faith, or even periods of complete darkness of the soul. Just as we often hear the many stories and narratives concerning our God as the Potter or as the Refiner, we must be assured that its point is more based on reality than we could imagine.
Let's not be afraid to be refined and molded to be all that He created us to be. Yes, weakness is not fun. But our weaknesses have to be confronted to be molded and refined out of us. Praise the Maker Who is always there, especially in our weakness, as He carefully and craftily shapes us into who He intends us to be, with the eventual end of becoming perfect someday with Him and any doubt will have become a distant memory.
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May your Lent be truly fruitful and fill you with longing for His Resurrection!
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Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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