Jesus may hide himself, but we know He is there.
– St. Therese of Lisieux
The Struggle with God’s Absence
In the last year or so of her life St. Therese endured what has been called a “night of faith.” She was tempted to believe that heaven did not exist. She would only encounter “the night of nothingness.” How frightening to experience that your life perhaps was a waste. No future life with God, nothing after death.
St. Therese made acts of faith, more so than at any other time in her life. She continued to be committed to the works of faith, as she put it. She lived the life of faith believing in God’s merciful love in spite of the struggle she had to bear. St. Therese showed herself to be a strong willed woman, a woman of profound faith in God.
Her struggle enabled her to respect the sentiments of the atheist. At one time St. Therese could not understand the position of the atheist; the non-believer seemed to her to evade the obvious. But her experience in the trial moved her to acknowledge that only faith makes it possible to believe.
Lord, help me to live always in the light of your presence. Should any darkness challenge my belief and love for you, dispel that darkness so that I might witness to your merciful and gracious love. Grant me the wisdom to confront a secular and egocentric world with your message of care and compassion for all people. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.