For many Christians, failing to feel God’s presence seems like a personal failure of their faith. According to Reverend Randy Jessen, failing to feel the presence of God is neither a failure of faith nor a condition that hinders God’s ability to accomplish incredible things through those who feel afflicted by feeling an absence of God. On Saturday, September 28 Randy Jessen, the Pastor of Parker United Methodist Church guided us through the biographies of four important Spiritual Leaders of the 20th Century: Dietrich Bonheoffer, Henri Nouwen, Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa. They all accomplished great success in the eyes of the public (Their writings and lives inspire us to this day) and yet they all experienced the depths of personal darkness. The day with Rev. Randy was shared with about 25 attendees. Each of us drawn to the story one or more of the four people presented. However, we all walked away from this particular day deeply challenged in our own expectations we have of our own faith life. Is not feeling the light and warmth of God’s presence a failure in our faith? No. I have always believed that sharing the depth of someone else’s experience enriches my own. I think we all go forth with the gift of knowing that such great things accomplished by these people were given as a grace in darkness and not by strength that basks in the light of public esteem.
Ana Cloughly, OSB