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The Midnight Zone of the Soul

Do you know that there are points in the ocean that no light can reach? Thanks to my curious six year old I can tell you more about the midnight zone of the ocean than I probably realize, but I find it fascinating all at the same that there are parts of the world so dark that the light of our sun can’t reach. I often wonder if we could read the minds of the creatures who live at that level if they’d even believe us if we told him the surface is illuminated by the light of giant ball of plasma 93 million miles away (thank you “They Might Be Giants” children’s songs for ensuring I’ll never forget that fact).

One of the more regular complaints I hear from my non-Christians friends is that Christians don’t do what they say. They complain that we’re meant to be pro-life, but don’t do pro-life things. They complain that we’re meant to be loving, but don’t do loving things. They complain that we’re meant to be charitable, but don’t do charitable things. They complain loudly that we don’t do Christian things.

But here’s the thing . . . it’s not about what we’re not doing, it’s all about what they’re not seeing.

Have you ever walked out of a dark room into bright sunlight? It hurts your eyes, and it’s hard to see until your eyes have acclimated. This is why those people complain that we’re not doing what we believe in. They’re in the darkness trying to see into the light. Occasionally they might be venturing into the light themselves, but for the moment they can’t see. In fact, there are many people swimming in a midnight zone of their own making—so far away from light, so surrounded by the dark that the thought of light and warmth seems an impossibility. These are the people who tell us our motives are wrong or our actions incomplete, not because they are right, but because they cannot see.

We do not need to share on social media each time we donate to a worthy cause, clock in our volunteer hours, or sign the paperwork to bring a child into our homes through fostering or adoption. We don’t need to proclaim the amazing things we do in the name of God every day whether we’re brave missionaries in foreign countries or brave missionaries in our own homes, work places, and schools. We are not called to proclaim our own goodness, but His, to others and in prayerful praise. It doesn’t matter if people don’t see what we’re doing, because when we walk in the light with God, everything is illuminated by Him.

Do you feel criticism over whether or not you’re “christian enough”? Look inside and see if you’re listening to what God is asking of you. There’s your answer.

Molly Walter is a Catholic convert, wife and mother to one crazy five year old, a new baby girl and four saints in heaven. She uses her degree in Theatre more as mother than she did while in the business. She enjoys reading, knitting, and rescuing third class relics from Goodwill. Find out more about her here

8 Comments

  • Reply
    sally vogel
    April 26, 2017 at 6:55 am

    thank you for this description of light and dark. It has reminded me that my job is to love Him and stay with the one who loves. God Bless!

  • Reply
    Sara
    April 26, 2017 at 10:13 am

    So if I understand you correctly, your main point is that people with criticisms are really just blinded to any of the good that we do accomplish because their spiritual understanding is darkened? I’m not sure I fully agree with that, especially since many of the criticisms you’ve mentioned are not leveled at Catholics by non-Catholics, but by fellow Catholics. They are deserving of consideration precisely because we can’t heal what we aren’t willing to acknowledge is broken.
    I think a much better tack to take on today’s reading would be to ask Jesus to show us where we are still in our own “midnight zones”and all for his grace to bring us into the light. More personal responsibility, less polarizing people into insiders vs outsiders.

    • Reply
      Samantha
      April 26, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      I think her reflection is also helpful to those of us who do struggle with criticisms from both Catholics and non Catholics to remember that what we do isn’t for them. We do for the glory of God. We ought not focus on if others see our charity, because we cannot control what they perceive in our actions. Also, it’s hopeful that they will eventually see the good we do and hopefully see Him in our actions also.

      • Reply
        Lauren
        April 26, 2017 at 3:49 pm

        Love this Samantha! Totally agree.

      • Reply
        Sara
        April 26, 2017 at 6:57 pm

        I hear what you are saying Samantha, but I think one can hold to “I’m doing this for the glory of God, not man” AND consider whether another person’s criticism has a vaild point. If we can’t do that then we risk being no better than the ostrich with her head in the sand. (Or the child with fingers in her ears, “La la la! I can’t hear you!”) – and I really felt this devotional lacked this balance. It really sounds like “people who cast criticisms on us are in the dark trying to look into the light” and if those criticisms make us feel like we are lacking then we should just talk to God about it. We can’t forget that God can and does use other people to speak to us.

        • Reply
          Molly W.
          April 27, 2017 at 11:20 am

          The point of this devotional was not about ignoring constructive criticism, but understanding that often times the criticism is unfounded. I will be the first to encourage people to always do more, give more and love more. But I get tired of hearing that “pro-lifers don’t care about babies and mothers” when I know hundreds of women and families that do just this through fostering, adoption, volunteering and shelters and health centers. I get tired of hearing that my financial or material giving is motivated by selfish intentions because I’m a religious person. I stand by my analogy that when you distance yourself from God (and therefore I’m not talking about good, holy men and women of any religion offering constructive criticism, but about people who intentionally distance themselves from “the light” at all) the harder it is to see what’s actually going on and that you can distance yourself so much that you begin to believe that no good exists at all. This is a reminder to those of us who are doing good, humble work that just because it’s not shared and bragged about doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

  • Reply
    Kathleen
    April 26, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    No one has reached perfection and who knows what a person sees or perceives. What I do know is that there are a million and one struggles that people under go every day. Think of the single mom on her own who chose life over abortion. Or the mom who struggles cause her adult child has turned their back on the church. Some folks are doing real Catholic Christian things that we don’t even see. And as always give thanks for the good we do see and do.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    April 26, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    We’ve all heard the phrase from our fellow

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