God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

The Dark Nights Of The Soul


Isaiah, by Michelangelo,  Sistine Chapel ceiling, Via Wikipedia

Isaiah, by Michelangelo,
Sistine Chapel ceiling, Via Wikipedia

Like all normal human beings my age, I have lived through many dark periods in my life.  For me, during these times, the world was about to come to an end.  I lost interest in living.  Joy left my spirit.

One might ask, what brought these dark feelings?  I could mention many ordinary experiences, such as sickness, failures and lack of success in my work, misunderstandings with co-workers and parishioners, overwork, concern for family members and friends; all these contributed to gloomy times that tried my soul.  When I was ordained a priest, I thought everything would be smooth sailing.  How naïve I was, what little understanding I had of life.

In these dark days, I would hang on for dear life to the hem of the robe of the Master in hope that better times would come.  After a lapse of time, without fail, my spirits would come back to an even keel.  How glad I was that I didn’t throw in the white towel in the terrible darkness of the preceding days.  As the years went on, my philosophy came to be, “Never give up, Never!”

Especially in past Advent times, if I were going through a troublesome stage of weariness and apathy, I would hear Isaiah speaking out about the coming of the Messiah.  The Savior will come to lift me up from the depths of darkness, to support me with His Love and Strength.  With my last bit of energy, I would keep repeating, “Come, Lord Jesus.  Come, Lord Jesus!”

All human beings go through these trying times.  No one can escape these life experiences.  Perhaps, some people reading these lines find themselves in a room of darkness and depression.  The walls are moving in, closer and closer.  “All is over.  I will give up.  My heart is breaking.”  A voice keeps repeating these words in their spirits.

Maybe we have lost our jobs.  Sickness won’t leave us.  Bills are piling up at a staggering rate.  Family life has turned into a battlefield.  A longtime friendship has come to an end, or we may grieve for family members and friends deceased.  In our present Advent Season, the words of the Prophet Isaiah, can touch our hearts with hope for good times to come.  “Here is your God . . . He comes to save you . . . Say to those whose hearts are frightened, be strong, fear not . . . strengthen the hands that are feeble . . . make firm the knees that are weak.”

The Messiah comes to be reborn in our hearts if we put out a welcome sign for him.  As the Light of the World, He will dispel the dark spirits of gloom and despair within us.  The more we hope, the more fruitful will this Advent be!  Expect great things to happen!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Fr. George Mc Kenna

December 6, 2014 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. Wow, what incredible words of encouragement! Like you, in those dark times, the only comfort I find is clinging to the hem of the robe of my Master, Jesus Christ. He never promised we will not suffer in this life, but He does promise to walk through it with us. And I agree fully with you, the Messiah comes to be reborn in our hearts if we put out a welcome sign….we have to welcome Him in to our sin, cleanse us from it, accept and believe that He is the Messiah, and He gives us eternal life. God bless you during this Christmas season.

    Comment by Kathleen Martin | December 6, 2014 | Reply

  2. I could really identify with this message. The ideas that fill our hearts determine the way we live our lives. Joan Chittister, OSB – Aspects of the Heart

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    Comment by Noreen Sullivan | December 6, 2014 | Reply

  3. Hi Fr. George! Again, such a wonderful post! You fill my heart with such joy! I think that many people pray with the idea that God will answer that specific prayer – much like a magic genie’s lamp! And those that do not get their prayers answered the way that they had asked tend to then check out on Christ – because He didn’t answer their prayers. And especially in the current society, where there seems to be such a sense of entitlement, the prayers don’t even happen until someone wants something. I suppose I was like that in my younger days and I do have to admit that in serious times, my prayers are more fervent.

    And, with your comment about smooth sailing once you were ordained – that reminds me that once I thought of priests as ‘above’ us other humans, too. Until I read a prayer for priests that included to pray for the priests in purgatory! That really blew my mind! Priests can be in purgatory??? That made me realize that they are just like the rest of us! And since they have this persona to live up to, so to speak, they need our prayers so much! I say a lovely prayer for priests every day and mention you specifically – as you are the priest most dearest to me!

    I’ve had bronchitis for over 3 weeks – finally now on the mend! But, boy, that did bring me down to be so sick for so long! But then I would think, what about those poor people who will not get better, who are struggling with serious illnesses that may be terminal. It taught me to value my good health and to just lean on the Lord when I do not feel good – because I know that I may face those dark days again. I have a lovely app on my phone called “Laudate” which has the daily mass readings embedded in there – it is such a comfort to read them every day. Then there are two different writers that post ‘reflections’ of those readings – very nice. It really is true that to feel closer to the Lord, spend more time with Him!

    I just sent you a letter yesterday – I hope that we can talk one day. I love you, Fr. George! You inspire me so much to be a better person! Thank you for all that you do! Praying for you daily, my dear friend! God Bless you my dear friend! Love, Nancy

    Comment by nancywest22 | December 7, 2014 | Reply

  4. I recently ran across a quote from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, “The battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.” So true. Life is a struggle. A struggle to do what is right, a struggle to keep your spirits up and your eyes set on God. A struggle to live each day as God would want us to live. And when trying times, like those you describe, descend on us – the struggle is even harder. Thank you for your words of encouragement. GT

    Comment by Anonymous | December 9, 2014 | Reply

  5. Thank you Fr George

    Comment by Joe Harrington | December 11, 2014 | Reply


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