The Struggles of the Human Heart

How to deal with Spiritual Desolation

      One of the most common lines that I have heard when it comes to making important decisions in life is the following: “Well, if it makes you happy, that’s all that matters” While it is certainly not bad to feel happiness, it is certainly a mistake to strive for things that only make us emotionally happy. There is a dramatic difference between abiding joy and fleeting happiness. Many things can make us happy - ice cream, puppies, a fulfilling job, a loving spouse, the end of a worthwhile journey, etc. But, in the end, there is only one thing that shall give us eternal fulfillment and peace, and that is union with God in Heaven. 


       But, this path to Holiness with God is not one that always provides the feeling of elation or happiness. This earthly life is often full of unexpected sufferings, physical injuries, financial difficulties, strained relationships, terrible criminals, war, etc. You could fill this whole page with the sufferings and evil that happen in our world on a daily basis. Because of these obstacles, life can appear to be a desert with no relief in sight. We keep walking and walking, but we find no oasis, no companion, and certainly no God walking with us. We feel abandoned and wonder why God is letting us suffer through such loneliness and why He is letting the world suffer through such chaos and destruction.


       In the midst of this struggle, the Lord speaks to us if we are willing to become accustomed to His Voice: “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!” (Is 43:18-19). Without us knowing, a well can begin to spring forth in our hearts amidst the challenges of life. “Now it springs forth,” continues the Lord, “do you not perceive it?” (Is 43:18-19) A spring begins to trickle forth in our hearts, and we begin to see a path leading back to the source of this growing stream. In this desert, the Lord makes a way for us with flowing abundant streams that nourish and comfort us as we move along the path. “In green pastures” He makes us lie down on our journey through this valley of death, and “He sets a table before” us in the midst of our enemies - our cups overflow with goodness (Psalm 23:2, 5) And He does all this so that we “might announce [His] praise” in everything we do (Is 43:21). Our hearts are made for the Lord, and unless they remain centered on Him, we shall never find that abiding joy.


      Where does this stream flow from? It comes from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was pierced on the Cross. His death took on all the suffering and evils from this world, and in exchange, He produced an abundant stream of eternal life that leads us all through the darkness back to His wonderful Light. It is from Christ’s Heart that the streams of joy, peace, and love come forth into our own lives. Look to the Cross in your troubles, remember that He suffers with us in every moment, and find the joy of eternal life spring forth from within your heart. It is not an instantaneous change - it takes time to surrender such things to God’s own heart. But, it gives a taste of what we shall one day be eternally with God in Heaven. Trust in Him, and you shall not be disappointed.



The 1st Reading from Last Sunday's Mass - Isaiah 43:16-21

Thus says the LORD,
            who opens a way in the sea
            and a path in the mighty waters,
who leads out chariots and horsemen,
            a powerful army,
till they lie prostrate together, never to rise,
            snuffed out and quenched like a wick.
Remember not the events of the past,
            the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!
            Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
In the desert I make a way,
            in the wasteland, rivers.
Wild beasts honor me,
            jackals and ostriches,
for I put water in the desert
            and rivers in the wasteland
            for my chosen people to drink,
the people whom I formed for myself,
            that they might announce my praise.


Jameson Labadie

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