Yesterday morning, I woke up to the sound of joyful voices praising God’s Goodness. My mp3 player is chock full of Catholic radio podcasts.
Instead of being uplifted, I felt a deep loneliness. That used to be me, I thought. I felt broken – sort of like Humpty Dumpty was broken, all shattered. Only on the inside.
I’ve been feeling like this for years, but it seems to grow worse over time. I claim to love God deeply. I believe in His Love for me. But, I don’t feel a shred of devotion or affection for Him. Anymore. Yet, just the thought of Him once took my breath away.
Every Tuesday, I sit before His Eucharistic Presence for two hours struggling to pray. I am happy to be with Him. I love the peace. But I cannot meditate or pray mentally at all. I try to remember how thoughts of Him once flooded my mind and heart like an embrace of warm waves washing over me.
I tell Him that I love Him (because I do), but avoid terms of endearment which once tumbled out of my entire being in a litany of praise and adoration. Such passion would seem hollow, even phony now. And I am sad for it.
I am aware of Him in every choice that I make. Is it for or against Him? I try to do what would please Him, but it’s more like habit than love. And I don’t want to go to hell — I who once dreamed of rushing into the arms of my Savior after breathing my last. No fear then.
I have long since given up trying to find out Why. I have turned my life inside out looking for a reason. I cannot find one. It is as though I have fallen into a deep dark well, and there is no way out. And not one ray of light.
I have asked a few different priests what they thought, but in the rush of a few moments in the confessional, or a 20 minute exchange on retreat, they have not understood, and I cannot blame them. But I thank them for listening.
“Dark night of the soul”, a holy nun with the gift of healing told me. “But,” she added, “IF you are praying.” So, all bets are off.
Am I praying? What is prayer now? There is no question that I could pray more, much more. How much do I have to pray to be in the purification of a dark night rather than the lukewarmness of a soul who has left the narrow way and wandered onto the wide road?
I tell Jesus that I believe it will always be this way now. I no longer allow myself to hope that I will ever again experience His Presence, or my own heart leaping within me at the sound of His Name. I am so very grateful for those memories.
He has given me more than I could have ever hoped for. It is His to give, and His to take away. If I have driven away His favors by my lack of generosity, I pray, as best I can now pray, that I will not one day cause Him to leave me too.
My prayer is simple now. It is that of the dying thief: “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”