Periods of Darkness
|Toward the first year of my novitiate, darkness began to case its shadow over my soul. I felt no consolation in prayer; I had to make a great effort to meditate; fear began to sweep over me. Going deeper into myself, I could find nothing but great misery. I could also clearly see the great holiness of God. I did not dare to raise my eyes to Him, but reduced myself to dust under His feet and begged for mercy. My soul was in this state for almost six months.(23)|
|The heaviest suffering for me was that it seemed to me that neither my prayers nor my good works were pleasing to God... greater darkness hid God from me... A saintly priest wanted to help me, but I was so miserable that I couldn't even define my trouble, and that vexed me even more. A deathly sadness penetrated my soul to such an extent that I was unable to hide it... I lost hope. The night was growing darker and darker. The priest to whom I went to confession said to me....that in my present situation I was more pleasing to God than if I were filled with the greatest consolations. "It is a very great grace, Sister" he told me, "that in your present condition, with all the torments you are experiencing, you not only do not offend God, but you even try to practice virtues. I am looking into youth soul, and I see God's great plans and special graces there; and seeing this, I give thanks to the Lord." but despite all that, my soul was in a state of torture; and in the midst of unspeakable torments, I imitated the blind man who entrusts himself to his guide. holding his hand firmly, not giving up obedience for a single moment, and this was my only safety in this fiery trial. (68)... When I feel that the suffering is more than I can bear, I take refuge in the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and I speak to Him with profound silence. (73)|
|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. I tried to read slowly, sentence by sentence, and to meditate in this way, but this also was of no avail. (77)|
|he abyss of my misery was constantly before my eyes. Every time I entered the chapel for some spiritual exercise, I experienced even worse torments and temptations. More than once, all through Holy Mass, I had to struggle against blasphemous thoughts which were forcing themselves to my lips. I felt an aversion for the Holy Sacraments, and it seemed to me that I was not profiting from them in any way. It was only out of obedience to my confessor that I frequented them, and this blind obedience was for me the only path I could follow and my very last hope of survival. The priest explained to me that these were trials sent by God and that, in the situation I was in, not only was I not offending God, but I was most pleasing to Him. "This is a sign, " he told me, "that God loves you very much and that He has great confidence in you, since He is sending you such trials." But these words brought me no comfort; it seemed to me that they did not apply to me at all.... [other] thoughts came to me: why strive to acquire virtues and do good works? Why mortify and annihilate yourself? What good is it to take vows? to pray? to sacrifice..? What good is it? (77)|
|Trials sent by God to a soul which is particularly loved by Him. Temptations and darkness; Satan
The soul's love for God is still not such as God would have it. The soul suddenly loses the tangible perception of God's presence. Various defects and imperfections rise up within it, and it must fight them furiously. All her faults lift up their heads, but the soul's vigilance is great. The former awareness of the presence of God gives place to coldness and spiritual dryness; the soul has no taste for spiritual exercises; it cannot pray, either in the old way, or in the manner in which it had just begun to pray. It struggles this way and that, but can find no satisfaction. God has hidden himself from it, and it can find no consolation in creatures, nor can any of these creatures find a way of consoling it. The soul craves passionately for God, but sees its own misery; it begins to sense God's justice; it seems to it that it has lost all the gifts that God had given it; its mind is dimmed, and darkness fills it; unspeakable torment begins. The soul tries to explain its state to the confessor, but it is not understood and is assailed by an even greater unrest. Satan begins his work.
Faith staggers under the impact; the struggle is fierce. The soul tries hard to cling to God by an act of will. With God's permission, Satan goes even further: hope and love are put to the test. These temptations are terrible. God supports the soul in secret, so to speak. The soul is not aware of this, but otherwise it would be impossible to stand firm; and God knows very well how much He can allow to befall a soul. The soul is tempted to unbelief in respect to revealed truths and to insincerity toward the confessor. Satan says to it, "Look, no one understand you; why speak about all this?" Words that terrify it sound in its ears, and it seems to the soul that it is uttering these against God. It sees what it does not want to see. It hears what it does not want to hear.....one should make every effort to find, if it is at all possible, a well-informed confessor....All these trials are heavy and difficult. God does not send them to a soul which has not already been admitted to a deeper intimacy with Him and which has not yet tasted the divine delights. ...... God often prepares a soul in this way for His future designs and great works. He wants to try it as pure gold is tried. But this is not yet the end of the testing; there is still the trial of trials, the complete abandonment of the soul by God. (96 -7)
The Trial of trials, Complete Abandonment - Despair
When the soul comes out victorious from the preceding trials, even though it may stumble here and there, it fights on valiantly, humbly calling upon God, "Save me, I am perishing!" And it is still able to fight on. At this point, however, the soul is engulfed in a horrible night. It sees within itself only sin. It feels terrible. It sees itself completely abandoned by God. It feels itself to be the object of His hatred. It is but one step away from despair....prayer is an even greater torment for it, as this prayer seems to arouse God to an even greater anger. ..The soul is drawn to God, but feels repulsed. All other sufferings and tortures in the world are as nothing compared with this sensation into which it has been plunged; namely, that of being rejected by God. No one can bring it any relief; it finds itself completely alone; there is no one to defend it. It raises its eyes to heaven, but is convinced that this is not for her - for her all is darkness, and it seems to it that it has lost forever the God it used to love so dearly. ...... In the midst of this, the evil spirit adds to the soul's suffering, mocking it: "Will you persist in your faithfulness? This is your reward; you are in our power!" But Satan has only as much influence over the soul as God allows him, and God knows how much we can bear........ The soul no longer looks for help anywhere. It shrinks into itself and loses sight of everything; it is as though it has accepted the torture of being abandoned......This is the agony of the soul..... [Saint Faustina goes on to explain how it ended].
When my soul began to sink into despair, I felt that the end was near. ....... After some time, one of the sisters came into the cell and found me almost dead. She was frightened and went to find the Directress of Novices who.... ordered me to get up...My strength returned immediately , and I got up...[she] recognised .. the state of my soul and spoke to me about the inscrutable mercy of God, saying, "Do not be distressed...I see now... that God is calling you to a high degree of holiness; the Lord wants to draw you very close to Himself since He ahs allowed these things to happen to you so soon. [This] is a sign that He wants you to have a high place in heaven....."When I went into the chapel, I felt as though my soul had been set free from everything, as though I had just come forth from the hand of God. I perceived the inviolability of my soul; I felt that I was a tiny child.
Suddenly I saw the Lord interiorly, and He said to me, Fear not, My daughter; I am with you. In that single moment, all the darkness and torments vanished, my senses were inundated with unspeakable joy, ..the faculties of my soul filled with light. ....What I have written is very poor compared to the reality. I cannot put it in words; it seemed to me that I had come back from the other world. I feel an aversion for everything that is created; I snuggle to the heart of God like a baby to its mother's breast. I see everything differently now..... This is a completely spiritual suffering. (98 - 104)
|My daughter, even though you do not perceive Me in the secret depths of your heart, you still cannot say that I am not there. I only remove from you the awareness of My presence, and that should not be an obstacle to the carrying out of My will. I do this to achieve My unfathomable ends, which you will know of later on. My daughter, know without doubt, and once and for all, that only mortal sin drives Me out of a soul, and nothing else. (1181)|
|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 prayer have reached Me. (1246)|
|In times of interior desolation I do not lose my peace, because I know that God never abandons a soul.....I am not frightened at all by my apparent abandonment. I examine myself more profoundly to discover whether this is due to my fault. If this is not the case - then may [the Lord] be blessed! (1315)|
|I have remained on earth to comfort your aching heart and to fortify your soul, so that you will not falter on the way. You say that a dense darkness is obscuring your mind. But why, at such times, do you not come to Me, the light who can in an instant pour into your soul more understanding about holiness than can be found in any books? ..Know, too, that the darkness about which you complain I first endured in the Garden of Olives when My Soul was crushed in mortal anguish. I am giving you a share in those sufferings because of My special love for you and in view of the high degree of holiness I am intending for you in Heaven. A suffering soul is closer to My heart. (Jesus to suffering souls - 1487)|
|February 2, 1938. Darkness of the soul. ...The Lord has hidden Himself, and I am alone, all alone. My mind has become so dimmed that I see only phantasies about me. Not a single ray of light penetrates my soul. I do not understand myself or those who speak to me. Frightful temptations regarding the holy faith assail me. O my Jesus, save me. I cannot say anything more. I cannot describe these things in detail...I am astounded that such torments could befall a soul. O hurricane, what are you doing to the boat of my heart?...I spent the whole night with Jesus in Gethsemane. ...So many times have I seen the radiance of Your face, and now, where are You, Lord?... I believe, I believe, and again I believe in You, Triune God...But the darkness does not recede....At that moment I saw Jesus, and from His heart there issued those same two rays, which enveloped me, whole and entire. At the same moment, all my torments vanished. My daughter, the Lord said, know that of yourself you are just what you have gone through, and it is only by My grace that you are a participant of eternal life and all the gifts I lavish on you....Jesus is giving me a lesson in deep humility and at the same time, one of total trust in Him. (1559)|
|But when your mind is dimmed and your sufferings are great , it is then that you take an active part in My Passion and I am conforming you more fully to Myself. It is your task to submit yourself to My will at such times, more than at others...(1697)|