Thursday, July 10, 2014

Faith and Doubt by Patti J. Smith

Faith and Doubt
Many circumstances in life can have a significant impact on faith journeys. Having doubts and the guilt that follows can be overwhelming. In my case, no matter how hard I prayed, the void in my heart and soul was immense. Those "dark periods" frightened me, because I thought a "true believer" would never have doubts.Praise God, I summoned the courage to share my pain with a friend in my faith community and how relieved I was to find out I was not alone! That's when I was introduced to the Diary of St. Faustina. She described my feelings perfectly,

"My mind became dimmed in a strange way; no truth seemed clear to me. When people spoke to me about God, my heart was like a rock. I could not draw from it a single sentiment of love for Him. When I tried, by an act of the will, to remain close to Him, I experienced great torments, and it seemed to me that I was only provoking God to an even greater anger. ... I felt in my soul a great void , and there was nothing with which I could fill it. I began to suffer from a great hunger and yearning for God, but I saw my utter powerlessness." You see, being a perfectionist, any weakness to me was a failure ... but after reading her diary, I understood that God does not see it that way. He sees those struggles as a victory, because it's through those struggles I strove harder to be closer to Him. God's answer to St. Faustina confirms this,"My daughter, during the weeks when you neither saw Me nor felt My presence, I was more profoundly united to you than at times when you experienced ecstasy. And the faithfulness and fragrance of your prayers have reached Me."

It's comforting to know I am not alone...the words of St. Faustina stay with me as well as those spoken by Pope Francis in one of his general audiences,“Who among us - everybody, everybody! - who among us has not experienced insecurity, loss and even doubts on their journey of faith? Everyone! We've all experienced this, me too. Everyone. It is part of the journey of faith, it is part of our lives. This should not surprise us, because we are human beings, marked by fragility and limitations. We are all weak, we all have limits: do not panic. We all have them,” Francis affirmed. "However, - the Pope continued - in these difficult times it is necessary to trust in God, through prayer, and at the same time, it is important to find the courage and the humility to be open to others and ask for help, to ask for a hand: 'Give me a hand, I have this problem.' How many times have we done this? And then, we overcame the problem and found God again. In this communion - communion which means 'common union', all united, common union - in this communion we are a big family, all of us, where all the components help and support each other."

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