The Rev. Suzanne Guthrie, a retreat leader and writer and curator of the website “At the Edge of the Enclosure” will speak at St. Paul’s on the evening of Thursday, June 6. Her visit is in conjunction with a retreat she’s giving at Stillpoint at Beckside, a local retreat center.
Suzanne’s talk is entitled The Way of Love: The Passion of Thérèse of Lisieux. Her talk will give insight into the life of faith in God when we come against the limits of faith. This has been called “The Dark Night of the Soul.”
Here is a description of the talk:
In her short life Thérèse developed a creative form of spirituality out of the limitations of her own personality and environment - a way of love accessible to anyone. And, she "democratizes" the Dark Night of the Soul for us in her ingenious response to God's apparent abandonment in her last year of life.
In other words, everybody comes up against a crisis of faith at some time in our life. We lack the consolations of faith, the assurances that at one time we might have felt. This can feel very discouraging. We may wonder whether our faith in God is in vain.
When I arrived in Snowmass at the St. Benedict Monastery Guest House for the Centering Prayer retreat, I found in the retreat library a copy of The Story of a Soul, which is an autobiography of Thérèse of Lisieux. I read it during the retreat. Knowing of Suzanne’s upcoming visit, I felt it was meant to be.
In reading about Thérèse through her own words, I encountered a person whose cultural and religious upbringing was quite different than mine. The spiritual insights, however, are profound, and made a bridge to me.
If you’ve ever wondered about your periods of doubt or spiritual dryness, I recommend that you attend this talk by Suzanne. Now that I’ve read Story of A Soul, I can understand why Suzanne is going to draw our attention to what we can learn from Thérèse’s times of feeling bereft of the consolations of faith.