WEEK 2: Unite your spiritual suffering with Jesus
At the end of the first year of novitiate in Sister Faustina’s life, a period of very painful spiritual experiences began known as passive nights. “Toward the end of my first year in the novitiate – she wrote in the Diary – it began to grow dark in my soul. I did not feel any consolation in prayer, meditation came only with much effort, anxiety started to overwhelm me. I entered more deeply into myself and couldn’t see anything but great misery. I could also clearly see the great holiness of God, I did not dare raise up my eyes to Him but cast myself into the dust at His feet, begging for mercy. (…) I couldn’t grasp the meaning of whatever I read; I couldn’t meditate. I thought God was not pleased with my prayers. Whenever I received the sacraments I thought I was offending Him even more. Nevertheless my confessor did not allow me to miss a single Holy Communion. God was working in a strange way in my soul (Diary 23).
We find such an account in her Diary, passage number 23. In the book of Psalms, marked with the same number, Ps 23, King David prayed as follows: ”Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Ps 23: 4).
In these very painful experiences, Sister Faustina received help from her novice directress, who explained to her that God is always a Father, even though He is testing us, and these experiences prepare the soul for close union with Him. As it was really in her case. It was important that in these difficult times Sister Faustina showed obedience and unwavering trust. Her example continues to delight us today, and also brings abundant crops in our times.
O my Jesus, You know what my soul goes through at the memory of that suffering. I have often wondered that the angels and saints sit by quietly watching the soul in such anguish. However, at such times they love us in a special way. Often my soul would yell for God, like a small child when its mother hides her face and it cannot recognise her, then it yells with all its strength. O my Jesus, glory and honour to You for those experiences of love. Great and unfathomed is Your mercy. Everything that You have intended for my soul, O Lord, has been replete with Your mercy (Diary 116).
- What does your trust look like in times of painful experiences?
- Do you believe that God is always your best Father, although He is testing you?
- Tell Him about what you are struggling with. Ask for the grace of spiritual childhood.