“I am told God loves me–and yet the reality of darkness & coldness & emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul. Did I make a mistake in surrendering blindly to the Call of the Sacred Heart?”
Faith is not an either/or proposition. People often have powerful faith without sensing the presence of God—that’s why they call it faith. People can speak of light yet feel they’re in darkness. People have doubts but they continue to live in service to a God who may not seem real.
Are they hypocrites? Was I?
I felt like one at times. However, I tried to stay truthful in my ministry. Occasionally, in the classroom and the pulpit, I shared my doubts and struggles. I taught from the scriptures. I represented the church doctrine. I helped people as often as I could. And I did it as a follower of Jesus.
Can a person struggle with doubts and be a minister at the same time? A lot of them do. After Mother Teresa died, her letters and journals revealed that although she was a highly regarded religious leader who led the cause to feed the hungry, she did not feel the presence of the God.
That’s how I felt, too, although no one is clamoring for me to be declared a saint. But to the very best of my ability I pushed aside my doubt and did the work.
People who are deeply spiritual have often endured the “dark night of the soul,” a condition where God seems to disappear. I think some eventually rediscover a holy presence, but the light just never came back for me. Or for Mother Teresa, who persevered in her service until death.