Finding God in Darkness

This isn’t actually gray. I, uh, I frost the tips, kind of a throwback to the,
you know, the boy bands of the 90s when they had frosted tips on the hair on their heads. I just thought like I don’t want to dye
my hair but I will frost the tips here. You know, I’ll do that because I want it that way.
(singing) ‘Cuz I want it … Anyways, OK, here we go. Hi, my name’s Father Mike Schmitz
and this is Ascension Presents. So a little while ago, I did a video on purgatory and so in that video, in the notes, there are some links to, from
arguments, you know, scriptural arguments as well as some historical and theological
arguments for the existence, the reality of purgatory and I invite you to take a look at that. I’m just gonna presume in this video that you understand that purgatory is real, that it’s a place of purification.
What is it? We know as Christians, that Jesus Christ, he took away the eternal consequences of sin. The eternal consequence of sin, consequence of sin being hell, but there are such a thing as temporal or temporary or
in-time consequences for sin. We all recognize this and this is a very interesting thing is that we recognize, yeah, there’s eternal consequences for sin, aka hell, but there’s also temporal consequences for sin that we experience the effects of it in our lives. One of the effects, one of the consequences of sin in our lives is we don’t love how we should, right? We love the wrong things
or we love the right things wrongly, right? It just becomes one of those things where our hearts need to be purified, our love needs to be purified, either in this life
or in purgatory, in order to be able to do what? In order to be able to love God
as he deserves. Because I know this about myself, that even if I’m in a right relationship with God, right, so I’m in a state of grace,
I don’t love God as he deserves to be loved. And so what the spiritual life is for, in many ways,
and what purgatory is for, if it doesn’t happen in this life, is for one’s love to become purified, for one’s love, for one’s heart to be able to
love God like he deserves to be loved and also how you’re made to love God. And so again, that’s what purgatory is, but you don’t actually have to go to purgatory for that to happen. In fact, in fact, God wants to do that in this life.
He wants to purify your love. Kind of a classic way that it’s been described by a lot of like really big-time saints has been, it’s finding, defining the three ages of the interior life or the three ways of the interior life. Here’s kind of some technical terms. There’s what you call the purgative way.
It’s what most of us are in right now. It’s probably, we’re wrestling with some big deal sins but
you’re kind of really battling, battling them out. You’re choosing God, but sometimes you fall back. You have to go to confession because, you know, you keep slipping up but you’re experiencing some, some, some
highs in the spiritual life and you’re experiencing some kind of lows in the spiritual life, dryness and distraction in prayer. That’s the purgative way, purifies you, right? The second way or a second age is called the illuminative way. The illuminative way is marked by at least two different, what they call dark nights, not Batman but dark nights, N-I-G-H-T-S’s dark nights of this- the dark night of the soul
and the dark night of the senses. Senses comes first, then soul. I’ll talk about that in a second. And then, there’s what we call the unitive way. And that’s after passing through all of this,
one experiences this kind of a union with God because they love God as he ought to be loved as best as they can, by his grace, in this life. OK, so the purgative way,
the illuminative way, and the unitive way. OK, so what is this all about? Well, I like to describe to- kind of like, imagine these three ways because that sounds very abstract, right? Let’s make it concrete. Imagine there is a boat and the boat is on the shore of some water or the shore of like a lake, whatever kind of thing, right? And so you’re not in the boat but you have to push the boat, you have to move the boat out into the water. Now in the purgative way, what happens is there’s kind of, the water, the waves are kind of lapping the shore, right? So every time the waves come in, the boat
lifts up a little bit and you can push it out but then the waves go out
and it’s like a little bit harder. And so, imagine sometimes it’s really easy,
that’s the moment of grace and just being lifted up. And sometimes the water goes out.
It’s like, “Oh, it’s not really moving very far.” That’s what you and I experience a lot
of times when it comes to dryness in prayer, when it comes to spiritual desolation. Desolation is that kind of, what you might call spiritual darkness in prayer, where you don’t feel anything, so you can push, but it’s like,
“It doesn’t feel like anything’s going anywhere,” and that’s the purgative way, in some ways, right? because it’s, you feel grace and you’re moving forward.
It seems like,”Oh seems like there is no grace, and I’m stuck.” If a person keeps pushing in that,
they get to this place called the illuminative way. Now in the illuminative way, there’s a couple moments of like a powerful consolation. We might even say that like, though the tide comes in and it’s like, “Whoa, my gosh. I can move this boat without even hardly pushing on it, because just God is doing something in my
life with this great consolation.” Now what God is doing in that great consolation is he’s revealing to you two important things: One is that he’s real,
Two, that you can trust him, because where he’s leading you is what is called the
first dark night of the senses. Now the dark night of the senses is, you can imagine, you go to prayer and you don’t feel anything, like you, go to, you show up for prayer like,
“Wait, this used to be really helpful for me.” “I used to read Scripture and set my heart on fire.” “I used to do the Stations of the Cross and was so moved by the Lord’s Passion.” “I used to go to Mass and just be
so engaged, but right now I feel dryness.” “I feel emptiness. I’m not getting anything.” And what the boat image could be is that
the tide goes out. So again, maybe at first, there was there was grace, right, consolation; the tide’s in and you can just float that boat as much as you want, but the tide goes out. Here the boat is on the earth and you’re just like trying to push this thing but it’s not going anywhere. You can see the the water and you’re like,
“If I can just get to the water, it’ll be a lot easier,” so you just keep on pressing. Now what happens is,
if a person continues to be faithful in that, because desolation in and of itself is not a good thing, like desolation of itself doesn’t do anything. It’s when we’re in the moment of desolation and we continue to lean in to the Lord;
THAT’S what does something. OK, so by God’s grace, we continue to act, we continue to choose God, we continue to pray, we continue to do good works; these are things that combat desolation. So tide comes in, that was the first dark night,
the dark night of the senses. Tide comes back in and again, God reminds you, OK, he’s real and he’s good, you can trust him and then what happens is the dark night of the soul. And my image for the dark night of the soul, is the tide goes out but it doesn’t just kind of go out so you can see it in the future or see it in the distance. The tide goes out so far that it seems like I’m in the middle of the Sahara Desert and I’m supposed to push this boat and
it feels impossible, and OK, now, because here’s the thing. In the dark night of the senses, you could still see the tide, you could still see the water. Similarly, when we’re in the dark night of the senses, we can say, “OK, I’m not getting anything in prayer, Lord, but I’m gonna choose you because I know that ultimately
you’re gonna bring me into your presence, ultimately you’re gonna bring me into heaven.” Well, the dark night of the soul is, the water is gone and there’s no … it’s not anywhere in sight and the person perceives that; they’re tempted to have the sense of like, “There is no hope and there is no heaven.” But even in the fact that I feel like there’s no hope and I feel like there’s no heaven, I’m still going to choose God,
I’m still gonna push on this boat, I’m still gonna show up for prayer,
I’m still gonna belong to Jesus. Even if I never get heaven,
I’m gonna still choose him. And then what the Lord is doing in that moment of the dark night of the soul is he’s purifying that love even more. That’s what has to happen, right? If for your love and for my love for God to become the kind of love that can step into heaven, we have to choose him even in darkness.
we have to choose him when we don’t feel consolation. We have to choose him when it feels like desolation.
Why? Not because God is testing you, like he’s saying like,
“I wonder how long they can hold on?” Not because God is saying like, “I wonder.
Let me, let me see how far they’re willing to go.” That is not the point.
The point is, my heart can’t be the kind of heart that gets into heaven
if I love God just for his gifts. So at some point, he has to stop giving the gifts. That’s why, right now even, sometimes in your prayer there’s this desolation. You’re like, “I don’t feel anything.”
Yes, perfect. That’s a really good moment because why? Because that’s a great moment you get to
choose God for his sake, not for his gifts. When you feel desolation, again, desolation in and of itself is not good, but desolation … but choosing God in the midst of desolation is a HUGE good. In that time, the dark night of the senses, “OK yeah, I’m not feeling anything but Lord I’m just gonna lean into this,” and the dark night of the soul is, “God even if there’s no heaven,
even if like I never get there, I’m gonna choose you because I’m not even choosing you for heaven. I’m choosing you because you are God and you deserve to be loved.” Now that’s what is meant to happen in this life. That’s why if you experience
dryness in prayer, like, oh, don’t despair. like that wasn’t supposed to rhyme, but if you experience this darkness and dryness in prayer, do not give up. That’s the time to lean in and to be able to say,
“OK, Lord, you’re doing something in my heart right now that you couldn’t do without this dryness.” Let me just sidebar here really quick: Spiritual desolation and depression are two very different things. I heard a Catholic psychologist or psychiatrist,
I can’t remember, talk about the distinction. He said, “Spiritual desolation or spiritual darkness has to do with only with your spiritual life.” Like only when it comes to prayer and what not. Depression is kind of this pall casts a
darkness over your whole life. That’s maybe a helpful way that some of you can make a distinction: Am I in spiritual desolation or am I experiencing depression? So what am I talking about? What I’m talking about is, this is God’s work in your life that he wants to do right now. Jesus Christ took away our eternal consequences for our sin: hell. He made it possible for you and I to have access to the Father in this life and in eternity, though we still have these temporal consequences. When we go through spiritual desolation
and continue to choose Jesus and continue to choose to love God for his own sake and not just for his gifts, your heart is becoming the kind of heart
that can love God forever in heaven. So please don’t despair and don’t give up.
When you experience that dryness, just keep praying, keep pushing that boat,
knowing that the Lord who’s calling you
is also giving you the strength to stay faithful. He’s giving you the strength to push the boat. He’s giving you the strength and he will lead you through this with the heart that’s even more powerfully capable of loving him and loving others. From all of us here at Ascension Presents,
this is a long video and Father Mike Schmitz. God bless.

100 thoughts on “Finding God in Darkness”

  1. But what do you do when you realize that it's actually depression and not just darkness? I actually started to feel like God doesn't care about me… and I still seek him because I know that it's not true. I just feel kind of alone… I will never stop seeking him but I hate feeling so alone in it all.

    Matthew 7:15-20 King James Version (KJV)

    15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

    Study Purgatory and where it came from. Please do not be deceived!!!

  3. He is right though! ALWAYS CHOOSE GOD!!!!! And READ YOUR BIBLE!!!! (Genesis 1:1-2)

    1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

  4. #AskFrMike: I'm not so sure about this, but some few years ago, I tried to explain Purgatory to a Protestant colleague of mine, as per his apparent request, and well, I did the best available to me at the time (always the case), but it hit me some time later on, due perhaps in part to some literary sources I do enjoy, and here it is: wouldn't ghost stories basically be possibly about souls in Purgatory? In Essence: wouldn't Purgatory basically be being the state of a soul bound to this Earth, or this level of existence, kind of a "summer school" due to having goofed off in learning forms of self-mastery in this life, and so you're stuck in this "dimension" instead of entering into what might be classified as "Paradise's Dimension", based on Church teaching that Paradise and Perdition are really "states of being more than places"?
    That said, I'm NOT saying we're even remotely wise, let alone allowed to try to contact them- that'd be dumb, really dumb, as we're not even remotely sure what "society" they're in, but they might be active in our lives, for one direction or another, but always ever subject to Christ's "agenda" and choice, as per "who does what in His agency"; does that idea make any sense to you, Fr. Mike?

  5. Wow… just wow… this video is so powerful. Trying to decipher what stage I may be in in my life right now but no matter what it is all I can do is push forward and trust the Lord our God through it all. God bless

  6. Keeping a gratitude journal helps! I'm grateful to God that I have a roof over my head, a Siamese cat on my lap, and two elderly parents who are still alive! Not everyone has those things, and I'm grateful to God.

  7. This vid was posted a year ago.. and I believe God prepared this video for me to see it today. It's so timely for me.. it spoke right through my heart…thank you Fr. Mike for delivering this very meaningful talk..I can say what I am going through right now is still in accord to God's will for me cause He wants me to be in heaven with Him one day 😇

  8. Man, I live in desolation and darkness. I don't understand the concept of 'Grace.' In fact nothing seems to make sense to me anymore. I hope things get better.
    -07 Dec 2018

  9. I came across this in fb today just had to watch it again in youtube.. He explains so clearly what i am exactly right now.. this gives me the courage to love God no matter what.. Jesus is the only way no matter what i feel or go through right now i will try to follow Him always..

  10. So I’ve been praying everyday and realized I’ve been experiencing a lot of supernatural phenomena; doors opening and closing, scents of sage around me, wind chime sounds in the morning and even hearing my name being called. Is this normal?

  11. #askfrmike hi Father, thanks for a great video! I have suffered from depression, and definitely went through some level of despair before I opened up to those around me, was put on medication, talked to a therapist, etc. I feel very guilty about how I acted during this time, but I also know that a lot of it came from my mental illness. My question is, if someone despairs while suffering from depression, how serious is this sin? (I'm not asking for a get-out-of-jail free card; I more want to know if it's still a mortal sin when you're in this state) Thanks!

  12. Here’s a question, Is there forgiveness for mortal sins? Does God forgive those who are serial killers? Hmmm….are these spirits forgiven by. God,I know you might say these people possibly can’t forgive themselves and that is punishment enough? Difficult question I assume may have many answers….

  13. do you love God for God or only the material things he provides you have to ask yourself? if it's only for the material things you are a gold digger lol

  14. Hi father, can I request an episode about Satan and why he existed?Why God didn't stop it from torturing us? What we need to do with temptation?is all our sins was from Satan?And how we are able to differentiate whether is it due to Satan?

  15. Dont be decieved… These men are smarter than they appear.. They have plans, and they know what they are doing and saying and for what reason. They know if they are preaching about giving tonget people to give.

  16. Finally an expert. I allways thought god stands for light. Why do people say that lucifer is the light bearer while your instinct tells you otherwise? Does that mean god is in darkness?

  17. #AskFrMike What do you do if Mortal Sin leads to eternal punishment, but you have an addiction (or force of habit, emotional distress, etc.) to a specific mortal sin, and you just can't seem to stop it?

  18. A non-believer is like a man in a dark room, with no lights and windows, wearing a blindfold looking for a black cat that isn't there. A catholic on the other hand, is like a man in a dark room, with no lights and windows, wearing a blindfold looking for a black cat that isn't there. The only difference beeing, the catholic has found the cat.

  19. Father I commited blasphemies and sacrilege by throwing the bible, this happened more than a year ago, can these sins be forgiven?

  20. I stumbled on this because I resolved to only watch catholic content on Youtube vids. Am enjoying the discovery of so much valuable content to the extent that I wonder whether I am making any sacrifice at all..seriously am unsure.

    But I needed to stop and say that the statement aboyt God wanting us to love Him for Himself alone and not for His gifts has rocked me on my feet. For some reason I want to stand up and dance. I often have felt am at the edge of a cliff and He is saying 'Jump' if I only I can trust. I couldn't even do the exercise of sincerely asking Jesus ' Lord what do You want me to do?'. I am afraid but Fr thank you. Truly I am not worthy but that You love me is a miracle truly.

  21. Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God? – Epicurus  None have argued successfully against any of the points. Before you spout free will, remember we are told we are all part of your gods plan. If there is a plan then there is no free will.

  22. Living in the dark broken and shattered
    Ready to give up and accept defeat
    But you've come to heal me
    You've come to fill this empty heart
    And as I come before you I've bow down on my knees

    And I lift my hands to you lord I surrender
    And I place my trust to you Lord forever
    Take me in your arms

  23. Your such a blessing Father Mike.Thank you Jesus for having you teach us and share your wisdom through your awesome videos🙌🙌🙏

  24. This is what I needed and it popped up on my feed.. Ive been more spiritually inclined since birth. Growing pains through
    Life and spiritual life I finally have gotten to where I wanted to be and I imagined then everything got quiet and still peacefully but then I got anxious and I wish I saw this sooner before I went down a road I went down. For lent I am giving up my sins and my temptations and everything feels light again slowly everywhere I’ve been looking for answers have been in the wrong places and coming back home to my roots feels good again❤️ thank you for this video

  25. I needed to hear this message- I am going through so much in my life right now. I will continue to pray and keep my faith in God and Jesus. I love them so much and was starting to feel like I was losing hope in my situation, but, I know I should continue to push forward and believe in Gods plan. Than you Father Mike!

  26. Yeah…. I think I've been experiencing depression. Weekend was bad, fell. Went to confession Monday. Everything felt hopeless Monday night, went to a praise/worship thing was was just sitting there crying. It's hard for me to believe God is always there, feels like he's abandoned me sometimes. How odd it is for a secular romantic movie trailer to have brought me somewhat out of that depressive state. Feels like killing erotic desire kills hope and other things with it. So much brokenness, hard to believe things can workout sometimes. Well tomorrow is another day.

  27. This was a good explanation of the experience of dryness in prayer,desolation,Dark Night Of the Soul and Dark Night Of the Senses.
    We do not get this teaching at mass.You can feel alone with the experience and not understand it.
    I like the idea of leaning into Jesus more to make the breakthrough in the Spiritual life.
    like sailing a boat,lean into the wind maybe?
    I can see great value in putting this teaching online, as I have not experienced it elsewhere. I guess if you have a spiritual director you could get it though.

  28. The dark the desolation the boat the fight for faith— I get it —71 yrs old— finally!! I’ll keep on pushing— even in the dessert—

  29. Thank you, I really needed to hear this. You're a gift from God to the new generation that needs priests like you. Thank you. Amen

  30. Thank u father Mike. I am not in a good place at all. I love what u said stop loving god for his gift love him for him. I love my God, this pain is unreal but I made bad choice and I am facing it. At this point he is what I have.

  31. Wow that's me right now…I used to be all "Yeah Jesus!" as a teen and early twenties, but now it's like I try to go to Adoration and get the sense that I'm disgusting to God and that I'm barely tolerable. It's very discouraging…

  32. Man I really felt like this video was talking to me, this is exactly what I’m going through and I’m glad I clicked on this video, I will keep on praying and thank you, God Bless.

  33. What if one fail in my faith during this darkness? Because I failed, the amount of indifference, darkness and weakness terrified me after so many unconditional and easy graces I received from God. I turned to sin to find any kind of emotion or feeling, I failed my Lord.

  34. The heavens will be made anew. Will there be shadows? Will there be the darkness of space, or the whole universe filled with light?
    God made evil as well as good. God made darkness, or maybe darkness is a symbol for non-existence. I suppose it don't actually say he made darkness.
    Point I think God sees all of the darkness of this world, and can be found at certain points therein. To pull people out.

  35. I'm currently going through a period of desolation and I've been reading St. Ignatius exercises regarding consolation and desolation. I keep thinking how desolation is simply the price of admission to get into heaven and my heavenly Father is trying to discipline me like the petulant child I am. After stopping the video to take old school notes with pen and paper it's comforting to see how Father Mike's example of pushing the boat in different circumstances aligns with St. Ignatius. Thank you Father Mike. Thank you.

  36. Fr. Mike is such a lovable goof! He inspires you to love the spiritual life in many relatable ways. He certainly is genuine in his care for our salvation…thank you Fr. Mike for my many mini -retreats through your Ascension Presents videos!

  37. I always say to GOD I'll Wrestle like Jacob I'm not letting YOU go no matter how hard it gets and no matter how spirituality dry I feel I'm not letting YOU go.

  38. This is really helpful at this moment. I am experiencing it but I won’t give up! Thank you father Mike, helpful as always! May the Lord eternally bless you🙏🏽

  39. I have experienced grace and the feeling of complete fulfillment and empowerment for God. I have also experienced that feeling of spiritual loneliness, when it seems temptations are greater and more fierce. I now understand what God is doing for me. God bless you Fr. Mike.

  40. Although I am Catholic and go to church on Sundays, the only way how to find God and follow him is through the permanent prayers. Silent prayers when I go to work, at work, at home or go to sleep. When I started this model I went through the hard times, failed on my knees many times, but I was always able to get up and go on.

  41. But God can use a period of depression, to achieve the same goal. You keep going and choosing God and praying without consolation
    in the darkness.

  42. Thank you very much for the explanations. It's truly like extending a helping hand to us pilgrims as we journey towards heaven, for sometimes life can be challenging. So thank you for your videos they are very helpful. May the Holy Spirit keep guiding you always.

  43. Padre Pio started to talk about the spiritual dryness as well
    The dark knight of the soul is what I'm going through

  44. Very well said! It reminds me of the book of Job- when Job was going thru such awful trials he said “even if He slays me yet will I praise Him”

  45. Our Lady promised she that will spare anybody who practice the Seven Sorrows devotion from purgatory. Check out this Devotion. GOD BLESS AND SAVE US ALL 🕇 🌹 🕇 🌹

  46. You do realise that pride is a sin yeah?
    You open your vid with a Sin.
    Don't they teach that in Preist School?

    The Catholic Church has become Devil Worship.

  47. Please father Mike please pray for a friend who took his own life last year his name is derek thank you.

  48. It is weird, I remember hating this guys videos while watching him in my catholic highschool while I was an atheist but now that I am reevaluating my faith I have found his videos very helpful. I feel like for people to truly find God, they must actively seek him for themselves rather than have others force them into it.

  49. whattttt a perfect timing ! i was just wondering what was happening with me ……now i know…..because god loves us more than we can imagine !

  50. Wow right when I’m going through those moments of not feeling much during prayer this video pops up to give me so much more hope!

  51. you can find god in the garbage bin or in a toilet hole or in any such places that are similar…….search and you will find.

  52. Just watched this video at the right time. Not to give up on God in darkness, he’s not given up on me.
    I’m weak going through trials. Please Pray for me and my family Thank you.

  53. Father, you say that Purgatory is a “place,” but I’ve also read and/or understand Purgatory is rather a “state” of being; that purgation is an immediate action transpiring after death and before entering Heaven. Maybe you could produce a video that speaks to this further?

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