The Dark Night of My Soul

News: Commentary
by Church Militant  •  •  October 29, 2016   

A reflection by Susan Skinner

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Susan Skinner's son was expelled from Father Ryan High School in Nashville, Tennessee because Skinner had asked that he be allowed to opt out of the graphic sex education program. reported on the family's ordeal here.


"Francis, rebuild my Church."

Most High glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me true faith, certain hope and perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out your holy and true command. Amen

The past few months have been extremely difficult for my family. I won't go into all the details because it has been written about here, here and here. What I will talk about is the spiritual aspect of it, and the aftermath.

It was after months of prayer and adoration that I followed the path I felt the Lord called me to. We can never be certain that we know the mind of God, but I can, as Thomas Merton says, know that God finds it pleasing when I am trying to do His will.


I never felt as though I was battling people, but principalities and powers that want to separate families from their proper role in Natural Law. I pray for all of the people involved. We ended up with a different trajectory for our lives, something I accepted because I felt the Lord call me on this path. I can only hope that it was His will, and that He can make straight any mistakes I made along the way.

My biggest heartache was feeling like those in power did not hear my voice (and other parents as well), and did not look at my son as an individual soul. But I have always known that the Church, regardless of the mistakes people inside of it make, is guided by the Holy Spirit, and that the Mass with the Eucharist is the greatest possible gift we could ever receive on this earth.

What I did not expect was what happened to me afterwards for a period of about three days. I felt hopeless. I felt despair. I felt forsaken — a complete absence of love from those in power in my community. I felt silence from God, and I felt like I wanted to leave the Church.

"I cry to you, O God, but you don’t answer. I stand before you, but you don't even look." Job 30:20

I never imagined myself there. I was angry, even raging. But I knew intellectually, aside from my emotion, that our God is a good God, that He is the most high sovereign King, and I knew saying yes to Him would cause suffering. But the despair was suffocating.

"Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer." Lamentations 3:8

Hope became an act of the will for me for these few days. I have to say, I have talked about that, but I didn't realize I would experience it so soon.

Nothing I tried worked to lift the despair — adoration, the Rosary, Mass. I was in an abyss.

"My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest." Psalm 22:2

Finally, in an act of pure desperation, I went out to the woods, to have it out with God. I knew I should be uniting my suffering to His Cross, and that great grace can come from that, but instead I raged at Him.

"Must you persecute me just as God does, and give my body no peace?" Job 19:22

And then I sat quiet, I cried, and I listened. And He spoke to me. He told me He was showing me the despair of many of His people, many inside the Church and outside the Church. They have been hurt by others, in His name — sometimes they have been hurt as well. He showed me that I am to remember this feeling in the months and years to come — because we are weak, we are human, and we all killed Christ. He told me to be a light in the darkness, to help rebuild His Church. He told me to call on the intercession of the saints, especially the Blessed Mother. And most of all, He told me to pray every day for my will to be one with His. When my will is one with His, I can love like He does. I can forgive like He does I can show people the kingdom of God right here. May God bless you all.

"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you." John 15:11–14

Originally published at Veil of Veronica.


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