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Book Club – Spiritual Combat – A Crisis of Faith

July 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

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Consider Jesus on the Cross as you would a devout book worthy of your unceasing study and by which you may learn the practice of the most heroic virtues. This is the book which may be truly called the “Book of Life” (Apocalypse 3:5), which at once enlightens the mind by its doctrines and inflames the will by its examples. The world is full of books, but were it possible for man to read them all, he would never be so well instructed to hate vice and embrace virtue as by contemplating a crucified God. But remember that there are those who spend hours lamenting the Passion of Our Lord and admiring His patience, and yet on the first occasion betray as great an impatience in suffering as if they had never thought of the Cross. Such men are like untried soldiers, who in their barracks breathe nothing but conquest, but on the first appearance of the enemy, beat a hasty and inglorious retreat. What is more despicable after considering, admiring and extolling the virtues of our Redeemer, than to forget them all in an instant when an opportunity of practicing them presents itself? – Spiritual Combat, pg. 161-162 (TAN version; The corresponding quote from Sophia Press is found on pages 142, from This crucified Lord…forget and neglect them?).

I sat in on the floor in our bathroom, hugging my knees, crying uncontrollably. My hands were sweaty, my face a mess of tears and hair and I desperately needed to blow my nose. I was absolutely beside myself because a horrific thought had just occurred to me:

What if there is no God?

I know that sounds crazy. I was a wreck because of the horrendous nature of my doubt. Before that day I had considered myself to be a “good” Catholic. I had converted to Catholicism eight years before, two days before our wedding day. I had read all things Scott Hahn and was excited about Holy Mother Church. My husband and I went to mass on Sunday and we taught CCD classes even though our own children were mere toddlers.

But this was no simple moment of doubt. This was my reaction after seriously contemplating the cross one day. Rather than absorb the magnitude of the cross and resolve to offer Christ everything, I rejected the cross by questioning Christ’s very existence!! I asked myself – If the God of the universe actually gave his life for us as described in the Passion, wouldn’t I live my life differently? Wouldn’t I want to receive Him daily? Wouldn’t I go to confession more than once every few months? Wouldn’t I want to practice virtue more fervently than I did? Wouldn’t I burst with sorrow every time I denied Him in sin? Wouldn’t I LIVE for Him alone?!

And what about the rest of the world? If God REALLY existed, wouldn’t more people LIVE for Him? Wouldn’t daily masses be packed? Wouldn’t there be lines outside the confessional?

I spent the next three days in agony, vacillating back and forth. If God didn’t exist, then I needed to stop pretending that He did. But if God DID exist, my entire life had to change. I begged God to let me KNOW if He was real. In the end, of course, He did exactly that. After three days of absolute turmoil, I woke on day four with the most amazing feeling of peace I had ever experienced before or since. I KNEW with all my heart that God was real, and that my life had to change. I recognized that I had not been studying the “Book of Life.” This was the first time in my life I’d actually considered what my commitment to God should mean to me. From that point on, I resolved to consecrate myself to my Lord, to offer Him every moment of every day.

But why did I have such a crisis of Faith? I realized that from my moment of panic, I had been gauging God’s existence on the failure of man. Because I didn’t BEHAVE as though God existed, I began to think that perhaps He didn’t. Multiply my behavior by that of much of the world, and I began to think exponentially that God MUST NOT exist. Obviously, I had it all wrong. My questions should have started and ended with ME, not with God.

As I read this excerpt, I relived the amazing moment when God allowed me to truly feel His presence in my life. But this was also a rude awakening, my Lord’s whispered question in my ear, asking where all my passion had gone. What had happened to that elated feeling I’d had when His grace presented Itself so openly to me? Certainly my devotion to serve had deteriorated over the years, and I was reminded once again how terribly sinful I really am. The very thought of Jesus suffering for me on the cross should be enough to stop me in my tracks when the threat of selfishness creeps in.

I really am like the untried soldier. I talk a good game – I share with friends all the amazing books I read about God, teach my children the Catechism, talk with them about love and sacrifice, take part in the sacraments regularly and try to live a life of prayer. Yet when those opportunities to LIVE for God present themselves, I often fall short. When our family is running late for mass, when I make a wrong turn or when I have a child that refuses to cooperate, I begin to lose perspective. I forget about Christ on the Cross, and I become impatient. Despite my resolve, I fail to see these small annoyances for what they are – opportunities for me to patiently suffer as Christ suffered, and to offer them for the intentions of Our Lord.

 

Discussion Questions:

1. What happens when you contemplate the cross?

2. Have you ever had a crisis of faith? If so, how was it resolved?

 

Schedule for This Week (Keep in mind that this is approximate – if you read somewhere around that range, we’ll still be reading together):

TAN:  pg. 175-202 (to Treatise…)

Sophia Press: pg. 155-175 (to Interior Peace)

NOTE:  The TAN version of Spiritual Combat has a second book attached (at least that's how it appears) – A Treatise on Peace of Soul; I had not intended to read that book, as I assumed other version wouldn't have it.  But I've realized in comparing versions that the Sophia version has this portion too, only it's seamlessly part of the same book.  In that light, we'll plan to read it all, but will add an extra week to this book – which means we have two weeks left, including the above assignment.  The last week will have a little more reading, so you're welcome to read ahead a little if you'd like.  Most weeks, I've planned for about 30-35 pages – the last week will have closer to 45.

Read more: Previous Book Club Posts

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the SpiritualDirection.com book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at pelicansbreast.com

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  • Robert Kraus

    This is a very good post this week, Vicki. I have definitely struggled with crises of faith. This part here:
    ” In the end, of course He did exactly that. After three days of absolute turmoil, I woke on day four with the most amazing feeling of peace I had ever experienced before or since. I KNEW with all my heart that God was real, and that my life had to change.”
    There are times I have begged God to do that for me, to show me his peace, but I know it’s not always his will for me to know. I keep saying if He would just show me his peace once, then I would know better and would live accordingly. But I also feel like I’m ignoring the thousands of little ‘peaces’ He’s given me over the past few years. It’s a struggle, I’ll admit.
    When I contemplate the Cross, I admit it’s hard for me to keep
    looking. I feel like I’m confronted with uncomfortable reality and maybe I look away to keep from dealing with it, to realize what it means for my life.
    Again, a timely post, I look forward to reading the other comments this week.

    • Vicki

      Robert – thanks for your comments. I know what you mean when you talk about your struggle. Even though I’ve had that “moment,” those same struggles still happen for me. It’s so difficult to walk that line, being in this world, but not of it. Clearly God’s grace is working through you now – helping us all to grow as we share through this book club. Thanks again!

    • “When I contemplate the Cross, I admit it’s hard for me to keep looking. I feel like I’m confronted with uncomfortable reality and maybe I look away to keep from dealing with it, to realize what it means for my life.”
      Exactly me.

  • Sandy

    Your description of your crisis of faith that you discovered after contemplating the cross reminds me of my crisis of faith. I think that this is a true moment of conversion which is our ongoing struggle to become holy. I also went before the crucifix before returning to the sacrament of Reconciliation. When I realized how much God loves me, that He let His only son die for me, I had an overwhelming presence of God and peace unlike anything humanly possible flowed into my soul. When I went to Reconciliation, the priest simply said, “Welcome back.” Since that day, I frequent the sacrament of Reconciliation often because I know the powerful graces that come to me.

    • judeen

      sandy,, God has given you a gift… a touch of the heart so deep no words can explain…… now you can use your life so powerfully .. by explaining to others how God brought you back to Him… … your story can touch so many so have left God… as God has given you the gift of conversion .. so you too can pass it on and save lives and souls.. God Bless

  • AnnieB

    For the last year I have been contemplating the cross and wondering what Jesus was thinking about, what he say when he looked down. I had all sorts of ideas and then one day it dawned on me that what Jesus saw was hungry and thirsty people. Suffering people he was striving to relieve.
    The question is really how we react when we know the truth. I struggle with this nearly every day thinking am I really living my life believing the gospels, the epistles and whole truth of God revealed in the life of his son.
    I try, but in reality, in my heart of hearts, I know I am simply skimming across the surface. Deeper conversion, deeper prayer is one of Thomas Dubay’s great works which I don’t like reading because it is so unsettling. I think it really is hard for us in the rich western world to accept the gospel truths.
    What am I doing to slake people’s thirst? Most of the time it seems that I am drowning in religiousity and being smug and hypocritical. It aint easy that is for sure!

    • LizEst

      AnnieB–You have received much fruit from contemplating the cross. Pray to be attentive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Lord will show you what you are to do to slake people’s thirst.

    • Becky Ward

      Love your honesty Annie!! 🙂

    • Alexandra Campbell

      annieb-I know what you mean about being afraid to go deeper. I have gradually let God take all unessential things away from me and have tried to seek to be His hands and feet in a hurting world. It took a really long time but I think I may have finally surrendered enough to Him that He could use me. Now He has placed me in a position of ministering to people in my work and I am so grateful. I am blessed to work with the poorest of the poor and still be able to pay my bills! Keep giving everything to Him and begging Him to use you and He will. The fact that you see where you have blockages is the first step. Everything is possible to Him.

  • LizEst

    1. When contemplating the cross, I feel so bad for Jesus and that our sins, my sins, have put Him there. Yet, I am thankful for His love and would be with Him, there, if I could, even take His place if I could. But, since I am not God but am instead rather weak and sinful, this can never be. So, my prayer is for the strength to joyfully shoulder and embrace the cross, to love as he loves and, yoked to him, follow wherever He leads.

    2. “I do believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Can’t tell you how many times I continue to be tempted in that direction. When that happens, I turn my face to the Lord. I review in my mind that Jesus’ death AND resurrection is so “far-fetched” that it is not a thing of human construct. It’s not something human beings would have naturally come up with. It HAS to be true. That God became human HAS to be true. Of its own, the human mind cannot grasp that concept, which is why other religions have problems with Christianity. They also have a problem with Christianity because they believe God would never stoop to our level. But, Jesus revealed God’s love and humbleness. He enabled us to know God as humanity has never known God before.

    We have the witness of the Apostles. We have the fact that the Church has been in place since Christ built it upon the rock of Peter with a continual line of succession, despite including many saints AND sinners in its membership. If the Church was of human origin, mankind would have destroyed it a long, long time ago. Our fallen human nature is proof of that. And, the Trinity HAS to be true because, again, we could not naturally come up with that! And, the Eucharist IS real because Jesus, my Lord and my God, said so (not to mention there are many miracles through the ages associated with the Eucharist that document its reality). And, if we can’t believe God, who can we believe?

    This is what I review in my head when tempted. It is fruit accumulated gradually from a number of crises of faith. I have come to believe the Lord permits these to allow our faith to strengthen and mature. When I can’t access this line of thinking, I follow Jesus’ lead. I “set my face” to believe, to follow Christ no matter the temptation, no matter the absence of consolation, no matter the perceived lack of proof. It can be helpful, also, to rebuke Satan in the name of Jesus. Praying helps, reading the lives of the saints helps. But, I don’t recall a dramatic resolution or lifting of these crises. All I notice is that, after a while (sometimes a long while), they are gently, almost imperceptibly lifted. These moments are bound to come. And, even Jesus cried out from the cross, “Why have you abandoned me?” He put all His trust in our heavenly Father. If that’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.

    • Alexandra Campbell

      Amen, amen, amen Liz! I especially love your thoughts on how our Christianity must be true because no one would make this up! Ha! And the idea that Almighty God would empty Himself of His glory and condescend to taking on our human flesh! Isn’t it just too glorious! You are blessed. Thank you.

      • LizEst

        Thank you for your most kind words Alexandra. Blessed be God! The glory, of course, goes to Him. Happy Lord’s Day!

  • abandon56

    1) As a child, I was very perplexed by the cross and often felt very repulsed and guilty. More recently I see in the cross that great high priest who is able to sympathize with our weakness, yet without sin. When I bring my woundedness to his wounds and bury my heart in the bottom of His, he communicates His love. While meditating on His passion and death on the cross, I also sense the fierceness of His love for me and the world.

    2) Resolving a crisis of faith has proven to be found in simply holding on … perserverence…seeing God’s grace and pure mercy the cause of the resolution. I would add that having that continual heart to heart with God in the midst of the storm has been a grace.

    I continue to have what I would say are “near crises” of faith: seeming on a precipice, ready to fall away at any given moment…currently getting my bearings navigating the interior life as best I can through abandonment, acts of humility and trust, spiritual reading.

    • Alexandra Campbell

      very beautiful thoughts..especially in no. 1. I will pray for you that you continue to abandon yourself to God’s mercy and that you will sense His closeness to you.

      • abandon56

        Thank you, Alexandra, for your prayers and kind comments. God bless you!

  • Becky Ward

    1 ~ When I contemplate the cross I am grateful! Now. It hasn’t always been that way…it has been a journey from sorrow and misery. Yet Jesus chose to do this out of love for us……and my heart overflows with love and gratitude.
    2 ~ My crisis of faith or turning point looked very much like yours…on the bathroom floor sobbing….water running in the hope that nobody would hear me. About 20 minutes later I picked up a book with some of JP II’s thoughts and read the words, “God never refuses anyone.” It changed my life….realizing that it was MY perspective and attitude that needed to change.

    • Vicki

      Becky – God’s grace is amazing, isn’t it? I wonder how many people he reaches on the bathroom floor:-)?

  • littlestflower1

    I was recovering from cancer surgery last year, and unable to pray at all with all the pain and heavy medication coursing through my body. The only thing I was able to do was to look at the crucifix on my bedroom wall and keep Jesus company. It saved me.

    • Vicki

      Thanks for sharing. I’m always amazed by how comforting the crucifix can be. My father-in-law went through a similar situation – he had bone cancer, and throughout his pain, he remained focused on the crucifix over near the door in his room.

    • And that, littleflower, was the most powerful Prayer. Remember, when we cannot pray, the Holy Spirit prays for us and His Prayers are perfect because He is God

  • This was perfect for my morning prayer of today’s readings! Thank you! Often times I act like the untried soldiers. Wanting to love our Lord enough to do the same for Him. Yet failing in even the smallest of discomforts and inconveniences. After reading this, I’ll strive harder to truly love Him not only in word but also in deed. To bear my cross humbly and joyfully.

    I don’t think I’ve had a major crisis of faith. But I have been tempted to doubt God’s love and had my share of desolation on the bathroom floor.

    • Vicki

      After today, I’ll never look at my bathroom the same way:-).

  • bltpm

    1. I’m comforted by the cross.
    2. Yes – by making deliberate acts of faith, hope and love

  • Alexandra Campbell

    Warning: a teeny bit graphic:
    Contemplation of a Crucifix led to my salvation. In 1995, when my brother lay near death in a hospital with a disseminated strep infection which caused septicemia, I had been a practicing hindu in a guru cult for about 10 years. I had been baptized and raised Catholic till the age of 12, but had become totally lost when our parents divorced. As I sat in my brother’s ICU room, I noticed the crucifix my mother had placed on the wall. During a five-day period my brother received “last rites” when his blood pressure plummeted to 35/17 and his temperature skyrocketed to 107 degF at one point. I had intended to bring my hindu stuff (chanting tapes, books, guru photos, etc.) into the room in a misguided, but sincere, effort to help him heal but I could not. I felt that the room and my brother had been “claimed” by Jesus in some mysterious way and I just knew that it would be wrong to practice my hindu rituals there.I had recently experienced a “crisis of faith” in my guru due to a scandal surrounding one of her ashrams and had cried out to God several months earlier that I needed a “safe” religion…that I needed a Savior!Deep in my soul I knew that something wonderful was about to happen, especially when I noticed several Christian nurses laying hands on and praying over my brother.I found my attention riveted to that crucifix. Ideas began to be presented to my mind about Jesus’ salvific acts on the cross: what if that really happened? What if He died for me? I would gaze back and forth from the crucifix to my brother’s bloated and weakened body for hours contemplating the wounds of Christ. I would look at the wounds on the hands and feet of the corpus and then at my brother’s hands and feet which had turned black (due to lack of blood circulation) up to the wrists and ankles. An intense realization that Jesus suffered for me personally and that He would have done so even if I had been the only person on earth ever to exist began to be infused into my intellect. These were not MY thoughts but converting gifts of the Holy Spirit coming into my mind without my will having anything to do with it! I received them with gratitude and an overwhelming sense of my own unworthiness along with the unbelievably good news that I was loved.At the moment when the doctors had to remove a pocket of infection from my brother’s side that was in the exact same spot as the wound on the crucifix I was totally overwhelmed with the sure knowledge that Jesus was who He said He was and that He died for me!
    I was saved by and for Jesus alone! I didn’t find my way back to the One True Faith for 10 more years but I was on my way…all because my mother had placed a crucifix on the wall of my brother’s hospital room.
    Pray for him, if you will, as he did not appear to receive the same saving grace as I did during that illness and is still fallen away from the Church.
    I love to contemplate the crucifix that is on the wall over my bed and feel sad for the protestants who prefer the “empty cross.” While all Christians know that He resurrected and that He lives, what a blessing to be able to contemplate His sufferings and to know that He is with us in ours. Amen.

    • Becky Ward

      WOW! Alexandra….what a beautiful story! I will pray for your brother….what is his name?

      • Alexandra Campbell

        Justin Mark is his name…for Justin Martyr and the apostle Mark! After he got better (and this was 17 years ago, he is now 51) he told me that he had had the experience of demons fighting above him, or over him…I’m not sure what he meant but obviously the devil wants all of us. I refuse to concede my brother to the power of darkness but he seems so unapproachable. Whenever I try to talk about his soul or suggest that maybe he could come back to church he waves his hand and does not want to talk about it. However, he has attended Mass a few times, like for our Dad’s funeral last year and Easter a few years ago and he went to communion each time! He lives with our Mom who is totally back in the church (another story) but she does not want to push, which is good. I did suggest that she tell him that it really is not proper to receive the Eucharist without sacramental confession but she demurred. Perhaps it isn’t a mortal sin for him since he doesn’t know it is? Anyway, I just pray and hope the Jesus will touch him like He touched me and brought me home. Thank you for your prayers for him.

        • Becky Ward

          I have souls in my family like this too…I’ll pray for yours…..you pray for mine, okay? You are correct in that your brother’s receiving communion while not practicing our faith is not a mortal sin because he does not know this. That said….I would watch for an opening to gently mention it…maybe in reference to your own learning process….IF God provides one. One of my biggest lessons on my spiritual journey is learning to keep my mouth shut – and pray instead. 🙂 (Goofy smile….) it really works!

          • Alexandra Campbell

            I will. What are their first names? I have also learned the lesson about keeping my mouth shut and praying! My father was brought back into the church after 40 years and it happened in a miraculous and mysterious way too. One night, Ash Wednesday 2008, as I realized that I probably would not be seeing my Dad in heaven if I made it there, I prayed REALLY HARD (meaning that I, for once, put all my energy and mental focus and heart into crying out and BEGGING God for his soul for hours. The next day he had a small stroke. 4 months and several Annointings of the Sick by our wonderful priest later, he was totally back in the sacraments! I’ll bet that was some confession! Like mine when I came back after twenty years probably. We were able to attend Mass together many sweet times before he died last year. I loved sitting next to him and seeing the tears streaming down his cheeks in pure joy. He softened so much after he returned and I know that I will see him one day, after we both get out of purgatory, ha ha. I was so happy that he was able to see the Church returning to the beauty of tradition that she had lost some of in the post-Vatican II rush to change. Thank you for your kind words.

          • LizEst

            Thank you for that Alexandra. How beautiful to witness his return to the sacraments. Now your Dad prays for you.

          • Becky Ward

            Too many to mention (seriously) ‘Becky’s family’ will do nicely…..God knows.
            Awesome story about your Dad!
            Thank you – truly – for the prayers!

        • LizEst

          Thank you for sharing his name and his story with us. It helps me pray when I am able to use someone’s name.

          Oh, and my sympathies to you on your father’s passing last year. The death of a parent is something that is always with us. He has a good daughter to pray for him. The prayers of someone converted to the Lord are powerful indeed.

          • Alexandra Campbell

            Thank you so much, bless you.

    • LizEst

      Powerful, powerful testimony Alexandra. I second Becky’s question. I will pray for him as well.

    • Cecilia

      Alexandra, your discription of your brother’s suffering connecting each one w/Christ’s suffering, I could “see” this agony being given to you as such a powerful teaching for you and for us. The mental images you painted thru your words: The Christian nurses who laid hands on your brother, your mother’s love and faith to display the Crucifix, each of the “wounds” on the “Body of Christ”….I will not long forget your witnessing….Thank you.

      • Alexandra Campbell

        Thank you. I am humbled and grateful for so many beautiful responses.

    • Alexandra, have no doubt. Your brother will come “back Home”. Yes it is sad when people prefer a mere Cross to the Holy Crucifix. I know Saint Paul has some very strong words somewhere in one of his Letters about those who try to remove the Crucified Jesus from the Cross. It is only the encounter and contemplation of the Crucifix that we begin to realize just how much God loves us that Jesus had to suffer such a horrible death for us wretched sinners. His Passion and Death, was the Only Atonement and Sacrifice necessary and acceptable to His Father in order to reconcile mankind to Himself after the Sin of our First Parents.

      • Alexandra Campbell

        Thank you, and please pray for Justin!

    • Alexandra, your brother’s sufferings are moving. Of, course, here on this Website we pray for one another. Be sure we shall be praying for him. Be consoled for your father’s passing on. At the bottom comment, you state your brother is receiving Holy Communion before the Sacrament of Reconciliation. That is not right. Please find a way to inform your Parish Priest who will deal with that appropriately. Your brother needs to receive Jesus worthily so that He can begin healing him Spiritually. Continue to pray and have no doubt he will come back “Home”.

  • As I struggle to internalize the deep Theological, Spiritual and Catechitical teachings in this Book, my early childhood understanding of God’s Power and the Mercy through the Cross, is rekindled and the impressions I formed then in my young pre-teen mind as we went for the weekly Stations of the Cross during the Lenten Season, become alive in my mind. The Hymns of the Season were so moving, making my young heart sense just how grieviously I hurt God when I sinned. It made a lasting impression in my formative mind and heart that has never left me. When I grew a bit older and was able to attend the mandatory Retreats for this Season, whose Major Theme was the Four Last Things, I came to realize just how much God loves us and why He allowed His Son to undergo such a horrible and cruel death to save us. No other Atonement would have been sufficient to reconcile man to God after the Sin of our First Parents, which had shut the Doors of Heaven to mankind. Though I am now much, much older and hopefully mature, those childhood experiences have remained my anchor and “Reference Points” in my Faith and the understanding of the Salvific Redemption Mystery through the Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

    And, yes, I recently underwent a terrifying Crisis of my Faith and which I came to realize later was God’s answer to my daily Prayers for the Virtue of Humility. He sent me that devastating trial to enable me to begin to practice this Virtue by firstly, assisting His Servant who was in tribulations, and secondly, to thankfully accept the pain I suffered, and thirdly, to learn how to forgive unconditionally, and fourthly, to accept that Cross with humility and offer it to Him in reparation for my many sins and also for the souls in Purgatory.

  • Cecilia

    A number of years ago I was praying for a number of situations. I awoke exactly at midnight of Nov. 30/Dec 1 into the darkest depression/despair I have ever encountered. Both the emotional and physical pain was intense. I lost all desire to be with my family, the children I taught and nothing gave me solace. I looked at the world and saw hopelessness and despair. I prayed w/great intensity but felt no relief nor comfort of any kind. My thought was “how can I go on like this for the rest of my life?” As my students would enter my classroom, those whom I loved & who always gave me great joy, I felt extreme physical coldness and hopelessness for the future. I lost hope in my own children and their future. Daily Mass and Communion were empty–God had left me! About the 3rd day into this agony, the thought that Our Lady might give me help if I but asked. I began to pray for her intercession and focused for help on Dec 8th, her feast day. I was even felt I was to be in “joyful hope” which seemed totally impossible because I could not even remember what joy nor hope had ever been. By the evening of Dec 8th, something started to happen & by the 10th, 11th hope returned to me. I have since called this “my novena of despair” & in all honesty I really do not want to experience it again! However, I now understand when someone is in despair about the existence of Our Loving God & I do thank Him and Our Lady for the gift of hope….

    • Becky Ward

      What an awesome example to let you in on how others may be feeling when they are depressed….and to be able to offer compassion.

    • LizEst

      It’s a mystery why the Lord permits these things. But, He can and does use everything for ultimate good. Even when you didn’t “feel” it, you walked by faith, not by sight. An example to all of us! Thank you for sharing this very personal experience. God bless you, Cecilia.

      ps. I love your name. I have an aunt Cecilia;)…and I was baptized at St. Cecilia Parish.

      • Cecilia

        Thank you all who commented on my email–I had not expected that! In all honesty, my experiences have taught me that much is learned in hindsight but not while one is being “taught” during the experience. It was some time before I began to understand what happened to me. I have learned so much from reading this site w/other’s sharing their experiences. We are truly not alone as we walk this journey!

        • Alexandra Campbell

          I know! Isn’t it wonderful! I can’t wait to meet everyone here in Heaven…well, maybe I can wait a little while 🙂

    • Alexandra Campbell

      You were truly going through a dark night of the spirit (in the mode of St. John of the Cross) it seems to me. What a beautiful life line you were able to give yourself by reaching out to Our Blessed Lady! I have days like this, it seems like I am sorry for all the sins in the world and cannot see how God puts up with so much sin. I try to just offer my suffering the hopelessness and despair to God so that He might save one other soul. Christ must have gone through this deslolation on the cross since we know that there is nothing we can suffer that He did not.

    • And yet, Cecilia, at that moment when you had hit the rock bottom, God was closest to you than ever before!!!!!!

  • MelissaStacy

    Thank you all for sharing…each one of you has helped me by telling your story, and I am encouraged to patiently bear my own struggles and to move closer to Christ.

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