What does it mean when a person, a person who seeks to be very faithful to God, falls into a state of deep depression? Does it mean that they have failed in their quest for spiritual perfection? Does it mean that they are weak or shallow in their faith? Do they have unconfessed sins that is pushing God away?
Or maybe, the seeking saint was just overcome with the task of living with the reality of chronic physical pain, complicated health issues, and other pressures living close to the edge of poverty brings. Perhaps, what happens to them happens to almost everyone at some point of their life (with the possible exception of poverty).
Our Lord never ever said this life would be easy. In fact, I believe our Lord wanted us to understand things would become increasingly harder as I move closer and closer to the pivotal point of the end of time.
During times of extreme trial (and only the one going through the trial can define what kind of trial it is) our weakness will come out. Our spiritual immaturities will become manifest. This brings us to the reality of the gift of having faith that can receive grace through the tools of reflection and belief and understand no matter how weak we become, our Lord is infinitely strong enough (long sentence but important).
Understanding that we will face these difficult times is vital to our spiritual health. I believe Ignatius of Loyola gives us the best advice in his Rules, “Tenth Rule. The tenth: Let him who is in consolation think how he will be in the desolation which will come after, taking new strength for then.” Ignatius was well aware of how the enemy of humanity works. He knows that the testing and trials will come. If one is not prepared one is asking for some of the worst regret, shame, guilt, and pain one can experience. The choice is ours.