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St. Therese’s Journey Through the Dark Night of the Soul

Description: This week Dan, Melissa and Dr. Anthony Lilles discuss St. Thérèse's journey through the dark night of the soul and the intense suffering that it caused her.for post on St. Therese's journey through the dark night

 Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Why does St. Thérèse refer to herself as “a grain of sand”?
  • The writings of St. Thérèse reflect those of St. John of the Cross: we must study the life of Jesus and imitate Him in everything we do.
  • We must detach ourselves from our own reputation.
  • St. Thérèse had a devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus and finds consolation not only for herself but for the world in a simple smile descending upon us from His blood-stained face.
  • Why does St. Thérèse long for “the homeland” at this stage in her spiritual life?
  • What is causing the suffering that St. Thérèse is experiencing?
  • Why does God have us pass through such painful purification?
  • How can one overcome the dark night of the soul?

Resources for this week’s show:

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The Divine Intimacy Radio Show is a haven of rest and wellspring of spiritual life for those seeking intimacy with God and the enlightened path of Catholic mystical and ascetical wisdom.

Every week, Dan Burke and Melissa Elson explore topics related to the interior life and Catholic teaching, including prayer, spiritual direction, meditation, contemplation, and holiness.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Holy vs. insecure

    You begin with an ironic statement about St. Therese’s self-esteem. It is funny, and I appreciate the humor there! However, I have wondered about this question for decades. What is the difference between being totally “detached from our own reputation” and being a “door-mat?” The saints often suggest that we should not defend ourselves, “Like a lamb led to the slaughter, He opened not His mouth,” but modern culture shows us so many examples of abused spouses, children, even spiritual directees. What is the difference between a historical saint who desires to be mistreated in imitation of Christ and a modern person who lets themselves be mistreated but it is not credited it to them as holiness?

    • Mary Ann Kronk

      Self awareness and a determined and confident focus on God, vs. Self centric focus – Self-pity and total disconnect from God…that is the difference.

    • Patricia

      Recent gospels reveal the thinking and plotting of evil men to defeat Jesus, who is the truth, wanting to prove Him wrong and destroy him, for their own power and purposes. This continues today – evil is constantly wanting to defeat the good, right , and true.
      Those who live a life of holiness and virtue are targeted more intensely in this never-ending battle. The saints have ordered their lives to God and are strong in purpose -willing to endure what comes their way, but they do not give in to pressure to leave God, no matter what the cost. They give good example of right relationships-God first and not giving in to sin. Catherine of Siena, Joan of Arc, Maria Goretti are all shining examples of this.
      Doormats on the other hand are weak, lacking in virtue and strength, and have no backbone to stand for what is right, to set examples of right relationships, and do not have their lives ordered to God. They are confused, defeated, and directionless.

  • Patricia

    St. Therese’s devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus, led her. – through her intense love for Him, to the desire to imitate Him – to be hidden and despised like He was – as an act of love and imitation of Christ. She could see the beauty of His countenance even through His disfigurement and supposed defeat, to recognize the Glory and Beauty of the Savior in the Face of the crucified – the ultimate in seeing beyond the physical world before us into eternity.
    She writes:
    “Until then I had not appreciated the beauties of the Holy Face…. my dear Mother, Agnes of Jesus, unveiled them to me.. penetrating the mysteries of love hidden in the Face of Our Divine Spouse, and I understood better than ever, in what true glory consists. He whose “Kingdom is not of this world”[2] taught me that the only royalty to be coveted lies in being “unknown and esteemed as naught,”[3] and in the joy of self-abasement. And I wished that my face, like the Face of Jesus, “should be, as it were, hidden and despised,”[4] so that no one on earth should esteem me. I thirsted to suffer and to be forgotten. Most merciful has been the way by which the Divine Master has ever led me. He has never inspired me with any desire and left it unsatisfied, and that is why I have always found His bitter chalice full of sweetness.”
    I would add that Jesus fulfilled all her desires even after.her time on earth. Rather than being unknown and despised, she is greatly loved today and has been called ” the greatest Saint of modern times” by Pope Pius X. and “one of the most popular saints in the history of the church.”

    • Valerie Saldanha

      I really appreciate your sharing above as it is reviving a forgotten call and showing me how Therese answered it and inspiring and encouraging me to take up this challenge again. Thanks and God bless. I listened to the podcast and thank the producers for giving us this.

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