A joyfully Franciscan view of Catholic life, inspired by St. Clare (Santa Chiara) of Assisi!

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Chiara Offreduccio (St. Clare) was born in 1194. It is said that when her mother had Chiara in her womb, an angel appeared to her and said, "your child will be a light that will illuminate the world!" Hence, her mother named the child Chiara, which means "light. As G.K. Chesterton put it, St. Clare was a romantic figure just like Juliet was. However, instead of running away from her family in order to be with an earthly man, Clare gave up everything and ran away from her family for the love of her Savior!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Crises of Faith

I had been at a loss as to what my posts should focus on next, until a friend of mine had kindly e-mailed to me an article on Mother Teresa this afternoon. Since I’ve had such a penchant for contemplative spirituality, I honestly never took the time to understand the spiritual factors that drive service-oriented religious persons. Partly due to both awe and ignorance, I always assumed that God gives a special kind of grace to those people so that their service to others is never deterred by feelings of spiritual dryness or emptiness. My misconceptions were certainly shattered after I read this thorough article on Mother Teresa’s lifelong spiritual struggles. Mother Teresa’s courage and perseverance in the face of stark spiritual depression only reconfirms the holiness of her life.

The testament of Mother Teresa’s struggles reassured me that spiritual dryness happens to very holy people. Many accounts of Saints’ lives completely ignore the spiritual emptiness that they might have experienced. Take the recent movie Therese, for example; it’s a very good movie, but it largely overlooks the depression that St. Therese went through during the last several years of her life. Because spiritual dryness of the saints is often overlooked, there is a tendency for us to blame ourselves when we begin to have such feelings. Nonetheless, it is important to understand that saints like Mother Teresa and many other holy people through the ages have experienced a complete lack of faith and a feeling that God was not working in their lives. Nonetheless, their perseverance and blind trust in God in spite of such doubts, fears, and depression helped them to grow in holiness.

As dark as the topic might be, it’s definitely helpful to hear accounts of how saints coped with their spiritual struggles. Hence, I will try to make several posts on the subject.

In the meantime, please read the article on Mother Teresa!

1 Comments:

Anonymous Candice said...

Chiara,

Thanks for posting that. It is good to be reminded that the saints, like us, were human. God bless you!

3:20 PM  

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