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Spiritual Growth Through Transition

Times of transition can be an experience of the “dark night of the soul” and are opportunities to surrender to God’s will, said the director of spiritual formation at Saint Luke Institute.

“We can learn a great deal from the times of darkness in our lives,” said Father Joseph Chalmers, O. Carm. “The darkness can be very positive. The challenge is to try to find the presence of God.”

Changes in ministry and personal life are all invitations to deepen one’s relationship with God by learning to let go and rely on the Lord, Fr. Chalmers said. “Death is the final letting go, but there are many little deaths where we prepare for the final letting go.” he said. “All transitions are preparing for the major transition of throwing ourselves into God’s arms.”

A fundamental principle in growing closer to Christ is growing in knowledge of one’s self, Fr. Chalmers said. Transitions are a great opportunity to do that because they often reveal a person’s strengths and weaknesses.

There is “nothing better” than the prayerful reading of Scripture during a transition, Fr. Chalmers said. He noted that many biblical figures were called by God to let go – including Christ, Abraham and Moses. The Liturgy of the Hours can be soothing and practicing centering prayer is a chance to abandon oneself to the will of God, he said.

“Try to discover the presence of God in this situation no matter how dark the challenge is,” Father Chalmers said. “You have to let go in order to embrace something else.”