I was just reading a reflection about a Saint that keeps coming into my mind, St. Therese of Lisieux, and this particular excerpt from that reflection stood out to me as something that could help us all get through this next week.
“To say “saw” of Thérèse—she “saw” God’s redeeming love—risks falsifying Thérèse’s witness.
“Often, for years on end, she saw nothing; she looked for her beloved, and no one appeared. It is wrong to imagine that Thérèse constantly experienced burning ardor, eyes afire with vision, faith alive with sight. She didn’t. She spent years in darkness, seeing what you and I see, ordinary things, and of God, nothing at all.
“Faith is not a feeling, not even a feeling of devotion, not an ardor. It is often, so far as ordinary sentiments go, an emptiness, an aridity, a dry torment, a mind jumbled with distraction, directionless, unfeeling. Faith is a calm and feelingless redirecting of mind and will toward the unseen love, notable more for its steadiness and willingness to go on acting just as it would if it had been carried along by transports of joy, instead of being left bereft of signs and comforts. Only in that way can faith be tested for truth, steadfastness, and authenticity. Only in that way is it shown to be the real thing.”
Novak goes on to say that St. Therese experienced feelings of doubt and emptiness for years, and that during much of that time, she could not feel belief in God or heaven or eternal life. She was afraid she was deluded in her choice of life — in her living for, and loving, our Lord.
I am so thankful that our God gives us Saints who we can relate to so well. Because sainthood and sanctity can often feel so un-relatable — so out of reach, so impossible, etc.
And here we have a young woman with so much love in her heart, a woman who felt so many things — and so deeply, and yet she also didn’t feel the depths of God’s love for her at many times in her life.
Can you imagine?
Can you imagine feeling all the things around you so intensely — and not feeling God’s love?
It sounds torturous to me.
It sounds like a version of hell, to be honest.
When I look at these situations and hear of these stories — stories of saints who felt abandoned, who felt alone, who lived in darkness, and yet who still persisted in their faith, I think of two things: one, that that person(s) must have had someone close to them in their life to encourage them to keep their faith during those times, and two, that God’s graces must have certainly been sufficient for them in their lives, in those moments.
A couple of years ago, when I was going through a particularly rough time, and was really struggling with not feeling God’s love, my husband sent me a message that I’ll never forget. It was this quote from St. Ignatius of Loyola:
“If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you, and that He certainly intends to make you a saint.”
That sentiment, along with my husband’s encouragement, helped tremendously. And I have to believe that going to Mass, that receiving the Sacraments, that still speaking to God must have also brought along the graces to carry me through that time.
I imagine that one of St. Therese’s confessors led her to believe what my husband shared with me.
Novak says, “A new confessor at the convent told her this was a trial that many most loved by God had long endured; what matters is not our feelings, but the quiet witness of our daily actions (which express our will, despite our feelings). This is just what she herself believed, but she was much helped by knowing that she was walking a recognizable path. From then on, she flew. One day, some months later, as suddenly as it had descended, the cloud of doubt lifted.”
And that’s sort of where I want to leave it for you today.
With this reminder: that our feelings don’t matter, but what does is the quiet witness of our daily actions.
Like loving our husbands. And folding their laundry. And cooking them dinner. And making our houses homes.
Doing these ordinary things.
And doing these things for our children, too.
And our other closest family & friends.
And lastly, I’m wondering if you can think of a friend or family member who might need the reminder that their quiet witness is what matters most.
That it’s okay to not be feeling our faith today, or this month or this year.
That God still loves them greatly and unconditionally even in their dark days.
That God still sees them, even when they don’t see Him.
Share this post with them. Share this post on your Facebook page, and tag them. Let them know you’re thinking of them, you’re praying for them, you’re walking with them on this journey.
That sort of friendship, along with God’s graces of course, can give us all the sort of strength we need to reach for Heaven.
The other day, I was talking about what life looks like when God asks us to do things that feel ordinary and mundane.
Today, I’m talking about other times when God asks us to do bigger things — maybe things that weren’t a part of our plan — things we never thought we’d do.
For me, that currently includes getting trained to help educate women on their fertility. 😉
Here’s the big announcement I was hinting at last week: I was just accepted into a FertilityCare Education Program!
That means I’m about to start the process of becoming a FertilityCare Practitioner Intern, and eventually, a Fertility Care Practitioner.
If everything goes as planned, I’ll be a FertilityCare Practitioner Intern for about 13 months. During that time, I’ll be a part of an intensive, Master’s Level program/supervised practicum with two weeks of full-immersion study. I’ll also be able to start teaching women the Creighton Model FertilityCare System during that time! (Want to be a client?! More on that below!)
This is something that’s been on my heart & mind for a while…
I have been such a huge advocate of the Creighton Model FertilityCare System — and especially the reproductive science that works cooperatively with the Creighton Model Fertility Care System (NaproTechnology!), since I first learned about it four years ago.
One of my sisters-in-law was actually the first person to tell me about it all, and my life hasn’t been the same since!
In a good way.
In the kind of way that makes you stop and ask, “Why didn’t I hear about this sooner?”
And the more I learned, and the more I talked about it — and wrote about it, the more that same question was echoed back to me.
I believe women deserve to understand what’s going on with their bodies and their fertility. It’s empowering to take charge of your own reproductive health! And unfortunately, many doctors aren’t helping women in this way, and surprisingly, even fewer know or understand women’s fertility, themselves.
Maybe that’s because it’s seriously awesome — and mysterious.
And also not mysterious at the same time (that’s where the Creighton Model & NaProTechnology come in!)
God certainly created women’s bodies in a magnificent way. But I promise you, He didn’t do this to trick us or fool us or make us not understand what’s going on with ’em.
And by becoming a Creighton Model FertilityCare Practitioner Intern, I can’t wait to tell you more, and be able to help more women understand their fertility, or infertility.
I’m sure you have a lot of questions. Let’s go through ’em!
CrMS is a safe, effective, and morally acceptable method of natural family planning. It utilizes the observation and charting of biological markers to indicate the times in a woman’s cycle when she is naturally fertile or infertile. Couples then use this information to either achieve or avoid pregnancy with great accuracy and without negative side-effects. The CrMS is applicable at any stage of a woman’s reproductive life.
It’s healthy — for all aspects of your life; for your relationship with your husband, for your body, and even your wallet. 😉 Plus, it’s effective!
Take a look at this chart, and you’ll see that the Creighton Model’s effectiveness for typical use is actually higher than that of birth control pills.
These numbers are incredible. This chart shows that the Creighton Model FertilityCare System is significantly more effective at helping women get pregnant than IVF.
Not at all! 🙂 This is for anyone and everyone; the right to learn & understand your fertility is not limited by your denomination or religion.
I’ll be able to start taking clients in just a few months! First, I have to complete one of the two full-immersion study sessions, and then just a couple of months later, I’ll be able to start teaching. If I’m able to attend the first Education Phase I that I’m hoping to attend in June, I may be able to start seeing clients around August/September of this year.
Not at first, unfortunately. But as time goes on, and as I get closer to finishing my internship, I may be able to start seeing long-distance clients and teaching them the Creighton Model through Skype sessions. I’ll let you know if & when I can!
Please keep me in your prayers as I move forward with this! 🙂 And I will pray for you & yours!
I’ve been doing some very ordinary things lately, some very mundane things.
My husband has been really sick this last week, so I’ve been doing everything I normally do with our ministry and in our home. And, I’ve been trying to also do most of the things that he normally does — except take the trash to the curb, because even a sicko can do that 😉
And it’s been hard.
I’ve complained a little bit.
I haven’t exactly been joyfully carrying out all of these tasks the way I feel I should be, or the way I think God would like me to do.
It’s easy to feel like these things — cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, shopping for groceries, paying bills, keeping things in order — are sometimes just too ordinary.
It’s easy to feel like those things are not the things I was called to be doing every single week.
Because if I’m being honest, I may have been thinking to myself that God had bigger plans for me.
And to keep going with that honesty, I may sometimes even think that I’m missing out on what those bigger plans are… because I’m busy doing these ordinary things.
I know I’m not the only one feeling these things. A lot of my friends have shared with me that they feel similarly. And that’s what lets me feel like I can tell you about it. Because maybe you’re feeling like that, too. And if you are, I wanna be feeling this together. And walking through it together.
I’ve gotta be honest when I say I really haven’t been sacrificing myself all that much this last week.
God hasn’t asked too much of me.
I’ve just been too wrapped up in what I want, and thinking about myself and my own happiness, to joyfully, unconditionally, and lovingly say, “Yes,” to the things God is asking of me right now.
And He’s just been asking me to take care of my husband while he’s sick.
I mean, there are a few other things He’s been asking of me (more on that later this week!), but… it’s not all that much for me right now — it’s not too much, and this is exactly what I signed up for when we got married.
But these ordinary things can make me feel small… and I used to want to feel big. (Sometimes I still do).
Our culture encourages that sort of attitude, don’t you think?
American Philosopher Donald Davidson has said, “Our culture places an absolute premium on various kinds of stardom. This degrades and impoverishes ordinary life, ordinary work, ordinary experience.”
Isn’t that so true? Our culture and society do make me feel like an ordinary life isn’t an extraordinary one.
But then I go back to Mary’s words, and I realize that it’s in making ourselves small, by sacrificing ourselves, that we can live a most extraordinary, heroic life. A sanctifying life.
Because that’s following Jesus Christ.
That’s living how He lived, and loving how He loves.
We don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary. We don’t have to do anything particularly magnificent. We just have to humble ourselves and serve those closest to us, and do that out of our love for God, and of course, for them.
This sentiment makes me think of this line in 1 Corinthians: “There are different forms of service but the same Lord.”
There are also different ways of serving the Lord, but it’s all the same to Him when we love, when we sacrifice, when we humble ourselves.
So I’m rolling with the ordinary things this week. I’m going to accept ’em, and try to embrace ’em.
Will you join me?
As Suzanne says here on my facebook page, “Sanctity or you, either way you choose.” 😉
It’s National Infertility Awareness Week, and I’m thinking about the ladies in our lives — our aunts, our cousins, our sisters, our friends — who suffer from infertility, and how we can support & love them.
From the basics of infertility, to how the Church cares deeply about those suffering with this, and more, I’ve got you covered here with a lot of great resources.
Check ’em out and please keep all couples & families suffering from infertility in your prayers.
Hi, I'm Annie!
I want to grow closer to Christ, and I want to bring you along! :) I'm a Catholic wife & writer, and I work from home on a prayer ministry I run with my husband. I also write -- and share some of the best things I find -- here, about living an authentic Catholic life as a woman, wife, and mom. Whether you're just one of those things, or all three, I've got you covered!
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