Making It through the Desert by Judy Dudich

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What’s a good, God-fearing, active, faithful, devout Catholic to do when he/she finds that they are experiencing a “dark night of the soul”?

One moment, everything is going along just fine. Kids are growing up nicely, marriage is

strong, parish and community life is bustling, yet blessed, and there is a great inner-peace, joy, and contentment in the heart.

Next moment, you’re just “not feeling it”. You look around you, in both your immediate circles and in the world at-large and everything seems topsy-turvy. The people who are not really focused on God seem to be plugging along as free-spirits, climbing corporate ladders, taking two vacations a year, buying summer homes and boats and “spare” cars, and always having something interesting, exciting, or wonderful happening in their lives.

The devoted godly-living Christians in your life are suffering. Day after day, week after week, your friends are experiencing tremendous family crises, trials, and tragedies.

It begins to appear that there is so much “senseless” suffering, or that attempts at holy living are in vain. One day, you go to kneel by your bed and pray, and you feel “nothing”.

Words won’t come, emotions won’t come, nothing comes…except perhaps, tears.

You realize that you have found yourself doubting…and you’re not even sure what you are doubting…are you doubting yourself? Are you doubting God? Are you doubting the Church? Maybe you are doubting a little of all of these things. You wonder “if it’s really, really worth it”. You wonder if you’re doing any good at all. You wonder if you’re going to sacrifice and give all that you have, only to watch your kids grow up and leave the Church.

This is what John of the Cross, Therese, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta describe as “a dark night of the soul”.

So, what happens next? Deep down, in that abiding place where the Holy Trinity resides; that place that no mortal, nor evil, nor worldly thing can touch…deep down in your soul,

you still believe (even though you are stricken with unbelief) and you still trust (even though you doubt) and you still know (even though you are confused). But, how do you get from the desert to those overflowing, unending, living waters of life once more?

Father John J. Lombardi, pastor of a small country parish in Maryland, USA, says that

when we find ourselves experiencing a spiritual “dryness”, we must simply “fake it ‘til we make it”.

Without insincerity or arrogance or duplicity, we must persevere and “go through the motions” surrendering all to Christ and asking Him to allow us to be completely emptied so that we may be completely filled anew in His love and truth.

Don’t feel like saying “I love you” to the person you’ve been married to for 25 years?

Say it any way! Don’t feel like getting out of bed on Sunday and going to Mass when all that the week ahead will bring is more strife and stress? Get up and go any way!

Don’t feel like wiping up the 99th spill of the day or listening to the same story again and again with your toddler? Do it any way!

And, when you kneel down by the bed, and nothing comes…just let it be.

God can hear your silence. God can understand your silence. God can bless and answer your silence.

Even though you do not know what your innermost need is at the time, nor can you even begin to fathom how to rectify the situation, your loving and gracious heavenly Father; who is all-knowing and perfect, knows exactly what you need and is willing to provide…if you let Him…if you “fake it ‘til you make it”.

Sometimes, we must reach a point in our journey, where we feel emptiness, dryness, and nothingness…this is the only way to completely “die to self”; after all, emotions are self-centered in a certain aspect. To feel void of emotion, or conviction, or purpose, means that we must turn wholly and completely toward God in order to be healed and strengthened and renewed.

“Fake it ‘til you make it” and trust in Him, believing that you will, in time…in His time…make it and be better for the journey.

Copyright 2010 Judy Dudich

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3 Comments

  1. I love this idea: fake it till you make it! I recently had a discussion with a priest about how I was feeling distracted while TRYING to pray–and he said “Make the distraction your prayer.” Something like “I don’t know what to make for dinner” can turn into “Thank you Lord for the family I need to make dinner for, and the resources to make it with…” sort of a similar idea to “fake it till you make it” 🙂 Thanks for the great post! Julie

  2. You’re welcome Brian. I’m glad you enjoyed this article! God bless you!

    And Julie, “Make the distraction your prayer” ??? I LOVE THAT!!!!!!! I am going to make that into a sign and hang it in my home, I love it so much!!! What a wise and holy priest you have!!! Please thank him for me for that advice! It is truly awesome! I also like your approach to the mishaps and “snags” of an average day…you must be a very Christ-centered person! Thanks for commenting on this article.

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