“Maybe your dark night is a gestation, a coming into being of a level of existence you have never dreamed of. Maybe your dark night is one big ironical challenge, just the opposite of what it appears to be–not a dying, but a birthing.” Thomas Moore
“If we really knew what we were called to relinquish on this [spiritual] journey, our defenses would never allow us to take the first step. Sometimes the only way we can enter the deeper dimensions of the journey is by being unable to see where we’re going. John’s [John of the Cross] explanation of the obscurity goes further. He says that in worldly matters it is good to have light so we know where to go without stumbling. But in spiritual maters it is precisely when we do think we know where to go that we are most likely to stumble. Thus, John says, God darkens our awareness in order to keep us safe. When we cannot chart our own course, we become vulnerable to God’s protection, and the darkness becomes a ‘guiding night,’ a ‘night more kindly than the dawn.’ . . . the night is dark for our protection. We cannot liberate ourselves; our defenses and resistance will not permit it. . . . To guide us toward the love that we most desire, we must be taken where we could not and would not go on our own. And lest we sabotage the journey, we must not know where we are going. Deep in the darkness, way beneath our senses, God is instilling ‘another, better love’ and ‘deeper, more urgent longings’ that empower our willingness for all the necessary relinquishments along the way. This transformative process–the freeing of love from attachment–is akin to the ancient biblical concept of salvation.” Gerald May
“When you are old you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you and lead you
where you do not want to go.”
John 21:18b NIV
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Have you ever felt like God was keeping you in the dark (off balance, confused, frustrated, stymied)?
- Did you ever consider this was for your own good? . . . that God was lovingly at work beneath your understanding?
- What “attachments” do you have that hinder you from moving ahead in the life of faith? Is God “helping” you to relinquish some of those?
Abba, teach me to welcome your often confusing, often painful–but necessary–work in me.
For More: The Dark Night of the Soul by Gerald May