Thank you God for the Memories!

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There are some memories in life that we never want to let go of.  For you men, perhaps it was the time that your dad looked at you and told you how proud he is of you for the man you have become. For you women, perhaps it was the time your dad told you how beautiful you are, and how you deserve to be loved and cared for, because of the precious treasure that you are.  For you parents, maybe it was the time you held your first-born child for the first time.  For you teenagers, maybe it was the time that your parents bought you that truck that you always wanted…and the thrill of driving it for the first time down the country road….through the mud!  For you priests maybe it was at your first Mass at the moment of Consecration when for the first time as a priest you held Jesus in your hands.  For you who are dedicated to God in Consecrated Life, perhaps it was the memory of your final profession, when you vowed poverty, chastity and obedience for the whole of your life and at that moment became a Spouse of Christ for all eternity!  All of these memories have something in common: they are memories of a time where we knew we were loved.

The next few steps of the ladder of love speak about charity.  “The seventh step of the ladder gives it an ardent boldness.  At this stage, love neither profits by the judgement to wait nor makes use of the counsel to retreat, neither can it be curbed through shame…” (Dark Night of the Soul. Bk 2 Chapter 20 par. 2).  This is the step in which one is willing to endures all things for God.  I suppose we can ask in our own life: Am I willing to endure everything out of love for God…even death?

The eighth step of the ladder of love involves holding on to the Beloved, and never letting go.  This is a real test of love and trust…clinging to the one we love without letting go, even when the road is hard.  St. John of the Cross further clarifies this step: “If one were to remain at this step, a certain glory would be possessed in this life; and so the soul only rests for short periods of time” (Dark Night of the Soul Bk. 2 chapter. 20 par 3). We never want to let go of the one who loves us beyond what we can imagine!  From this step, one enters the state of the perfect.

We need to hang on to Jesus.  He is life and the source of life.  I once heard a priest say, “Keep your eyes on Jesus…focus on Jesus!”  May our eyes continue to be fixed on Jesus!  May we never forget all the moments in our lives when God has shown His love for us!  You do not need to look very hard…every moment is a gift from God!

Image from:

10 Family Photo Ideas: February 1, 2019

https://www.frameiteasy.com/learn/family-photo-ideas/

Accessed April 12, 2021

When the Light Came Into the World…

mary

We can imagine the joy of Mary when the angel Gabriel revealed to her that she would be the Mother of God!  As we read in the book of the prophet Isaiah: “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and they shall call His name Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

Remembering that “God so loved the world that He sent His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life,” (John 3:16) gives us hope in the midst of the storms in our lives.  Mary carried the Light of the World in her womb.  We will recall Jesus as the Light when we celebrate the Easter Vigil.  We carry Jesus within us every time we receive the Holy Eucharist!  We must ask our Blessed Mother Mary to help us receive Jesus with a joy like she has!!

As we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation let us reflect on Jesus who is the Light.  In the preface at Mass before we sing the Holy, Holy, Holy prayer (Sanctus) we pray these words about the Blessed Virgin Mary:

“…conceived Thine only-begotten Son by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, and the glory of her virginity still abiding gave forth to the world the everlasting Light, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

What beautiful words to ponder on throughout the day!  Truly nothing is impossible for God!  How grateful we are for the “Yes” of Mary!

Please listen to this song: “Lux Aurumque” composed and conducted by Eric Whitacre, who took the words from a poem written by Charles Anthony Silvestri.  I do realize that this is a song more for Christmas time, but it is a good song to listen to as we reflect Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel and how she received the Light in her womb!! Jesus is the Light of the World and we will encounter Him in a special way during the Easter season!

This is the translation of the song:

Light,
warm and heavy as pure gold
and angels sing softly
to the new-born babe.

Here is the link:

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir- “Lux Aurumque”

Lyrics from: https://ericwhitacre.com/music-catalog/lux-aurumque

Image from https://catholicnewstt.com/index.php/2018/12/20/mary-ideal-advent-figure/

Vulnerability and Seeking Light…

28475-Angel appearing to Joseph Champaigne Matthew 1

There was no human being on this earth who loved the Blessed Virgin Mary more than St. Joseph.  He loved her with a love that is beyond words…even when she revealed to him that she was going to have a baby…a baby that was not biologically his, who would be the Messiah. St. Joseph loved her even then.  He could have had her put to death, yet he was a loving and just man and decided to send her away quietly.  He did not want to bring shame or guilt upon her.  He loved Mary, and she loved Him.  We can imagine the intense prayer of St. Joseph at this time…seeking the light of God…and as we know light came!  In a dream, St. Joseph hears: “Joseph. son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20).

It took great courage for Mary to reveal to St. Joseph that she was to be a mother…the mother of the Messiah.  We can imagine the questions and struggle in St. Joseph…he loved Mary yet she was carrying a child that was not biologically his.  We can imagine the sorrow and confusion in the heart of St. Joseph.  Mary had complete and total trust in the Lord.  Mary knew the law…she knew he could have had heard her put to death…yet Mary had complete faith in the Lord and totally surrendered to the will of God.  Even if St. Joseph would reject her, one thing was certain…the Lord would not reject her!  Because of her faith and trust in the Lord, and knowing the love that St. Joseph did have for her, she was able to speak the truth…for Truth was made Incarnate in her womb, and when the time was right, God spoke to St. Joseph and gave him light to see.

Thinking about the love story of Mary and St. Joseph brought something to mind that most people struggle with: sometimes we can live in great fear of being “cast out” from the lives of people who love us if we reveal a part of us that is broken and in need of healing.  Sometimes we can have a fear of being vulnerable and revealing the struggle within.  But this fear of being “cast out” is not living with the mindset and heart that Mary had.  Everyone carries something…some Cross…and sometimes we need the support of others in order to carry it with patience and hope.  Otherwise we can become very fearful and lonely.  We need to be able to share our burdens with people who love us.  Mary shared this truth with St. Joseph…she knew he loved her.  Sometimes we can fear because we do not know right away the response that we will receive from the other person: “Will they still love me if I tell them this?”  “Will they still think that I am a worthy person if I tell them this?”  It is true that we do take a risk revealing a part of ourselves that is painful and in need of healing…but knowing that the person who is listening to you loves you increases faith and trust in the relationship.  We cannot expect people to be perfect and to react to our situations perfectly…that is the reality of life.  However, within ourselves we can maintain a true and lasting peace like Mary had knowing that God would never reject her, even if men do.

There may be times where we need to listen to another’s burdens, struggles and trials.  This is truly honorable, for it is an act of love to listen to another.  Sometimes, people just need to be listened to.  People just need to know that they are loved.  However, sometimes people are weak to reveal themselves…they want to feel safe, secure and accepted.  They want assurance before speaking that you will not cast them out, but that you will receive them, right there in that brokenness.  Being open to listening is a tremendous gift.  Words of compassion can really help the soul feel safe: “You know I love you, and I care about you, and if you ever need to speak to me, I am here for you.”  “If you ever want to talk some time, I would be very happy to talk with you!”  Sometimes beginning with being vulnerable yourself can help another person to open up in their situation…this builds trust and confidence.

Of course, we will not share our struggles, burdens and Crosses with everyone.  We would never start preaching from the street: “Guess what everyone…let me tell you what I am struggling with right now!”  No…don’t do that.  You are a precious treasure created out of love, and so, you want to share those things that are deep and personal with people in your life who love you and who you can trust. Spiritual directors, spouse, parents, close and trustworthy friends, confessors, and even at times counsellors are just a few examples of people who we may need to share our burdens with.  Sometimes others can help shed light on situations and trials…light that we are not able to see yet because of fear.  Of course, before we discuss any sorrow or trial, we need to bring our burdens to the Blessed Sacrament.  We need to go to Jesus and ask the Lord to help the person receive what we say with an understanding heart.  I am sure that our Blessed Mother prayed to the little child in her womb that he would help St. Joseph to understand.  God helped St. Joseph to understand!

St. Joseph pray for us!

Image from Christian Art Website

https://www.christian.art/en/daily-gospel-reading/640

Hungry? Thirsty?

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Do you ever feel hungry…like really hungry?  Or perhaps you have felt thirsty…maybe you are an athlete in training or you like to go on hikes…and you need water!  Hunger and thirst are normal for us…when we are hungry and thirsty it reminds us how much we are in need of God…how much we ought to hunger and thirst for Jesus in the Eucharist!  No five star meal can compare with Jesus in the Eucharist!  He fully and truly satisfies us!  The next few steps of love that we are speaking about are about having this great hunger for God!  So great that we cannot imagine taking a breath without God!!

So, here we are at the fourth step of our journey with God on the ladder of love.  St. John of the Cross speaks of this step as the step in which “love makes all burdensome and heavy things nearly nothing.” (Dark Night of the Soul Bk 2. Ch 19. Par. 3).  At this step, St. John of the Cross says that here souls do not seek satisfaction or consolations in God, but they are seeking to serve God seeing that He deserves our complete and total love.  This soul desires to suffer out of love for God.

At the fifth step, the soul has an impatient desire and longing for God, so much so that St. John of the Cross says, “the soul so feeds on love-for in accord with its hunger is its satisfaction-” (Dark Night of the Soul Bk 2 Ch.19. par 5).  This can be compared to a great hunger…a starvation, not for physical food but to love God.

At the sixth step, to soul is “running swiftly toward God and experiences many touches in Him.” (Bk 2. Ch 19. Par.5)  St. John of the Cross says that at this stage, the “soul’s charity is now highly increased and almost completely purified…” (Book 2. Chapter 20. Par.1). In other words, the heart is now enlarged to a greater degree, and the soul is cooperating with grace.

Image: Canada’s Food Guide Website:

https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/

 

One Step…Two Step…Three Step…

drop zone

Do you like heights?  Some people get such a thrill going up high off the ground!  Some people get sick just thinking about going up high.  I remember going on a ride at Canada’s Wonderland (the image that you see here is the Drop Zone at Canada’s Wonderland) when I was a teenager called “Drop-Zone” and I remember looking down at the spot where my dad was standing…and he seemed to get smaller and smaller, until eventually I could not see him anymore!  It seemed the higher we went, the smaller everything else became. Perhaps this is a good meditation for the spiritual life: the higher we go in union with God, the smaller everything else becomes, especially the things of the world.

St. John of the Cross speaks about the steps of love in the “mystical ladder of divine love.”    We will speak about these various steps in detail.  He speaks in the first step about a “soul sickness.”  The soul’s sickness comes because of the “heat from above” where “the soul changes the colour of its past life and loses its appetite for things.” (Dark Night of the Soul Bk 2. Chapter 19. Par. 1).

The second step causes a person to search for God without ceasing.  She is looking for her Beloved in all things. In all its thoughts it turn immediately to her Beloved. (Book 2. Chapter 19 par. 2).

The third step involves prompting the soul to the performance of good works giving it fervor to keep going and not fail!  (Dark Night of the Soul Book 2. Chapter 19. Par 3).  The soul believes that the works done for God are small and from this comes a deep sorrow that the soul is not doing enough for God…that everything he does is so little.  What is the effect of this step?  St. John of the Cross says that one effect is that love is teaching him what God deserves.  In this way the soul is removed from vainglory, presumption, and the condemnation of others…” (Bk 2. Chapter 19. Par.3).

The fourth step…well you will find out next week!!!

Image taken from “Canada Alive Website” https://canadaalive.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/canadas-wonderland/

Fire is Hot!

fire!

Have you ever heard the expression: “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen!”  The kitchen can get very hot!  The stove is hot…the barbeque is hot…fire is hot!  Have you ever been camping…or had a bonfire?  There is something so cozy about gathering around the fire in the summer time with your hotdogs and marshmallows and the lake out at the back.  Yes…bonfires are fun…but there are always lots of mosquitoes!  You can even bring a guitar and sing around the bonfire!

Anyone who has been near fire knows that it is hot and it burns!  When we are roasting our hotdogs and marshmallows we need to be super careful because it is easy to get to close to the fire!  We do not want to get burned, yet the fire offers us many wonderful things: heat, light, yummy marshmallows…

God’s fire is a different type of fire!  God’s fire is a fire of love…full of passion.  St. John of the Cross says that “the spiritual inflaming engenders the passion of love.” (Dark Night of the Soul Book 2. Chapter 11. 2). The soul is starting to feel that it is being wounded by a strong divine love and it has a certain feeling and foretaste of God.” (Dark Night of the Soul Book 2. Chapter 11. 1). At this stage of the journey in the dark night of the soul, the soul is being purged out meaning that it’s attachments and passions are all being purged and purified in the flames of God’s divine love.  Union with God means that we need to be purified!  The saints knew this, and they all worked hard to overcome vices, temptations, passions and attachments in order to be in union with God.  The soul is starting to possess something of union with God and it is in this union that the soul will learn to love God so intensely, with all its strength.  This type of love would not be possible if our appetites, passions and emotions are all over the place and scattered.  God allows for this dark night in order to make the soul strong in virtue and in order to break self-will.

So what is God doing?  He is basically gathering all the strength, faculties, appetites of the soul both sensory and spiritual to be employed in his love.  This means that “the soul must be wounded, touched, and impassioned, all its strength and its appetites are recollected in this burning love.” (Book 2. Chapter 11. Par 4.)  The soul will eventually become aware of this fire…this wound…and the soul desires God with a desire so strong that it sighs in darkness and doubt because it realizes that it is not yet filled with this love of union.

St. John of the Cross says, “the soul proclaims this verse: fired ‘with love’s urgent longings.’” (Book 2 Chapter 11: 6).  In everything: his thoughts, and deeds the soul loves in many ways; however, the soul does not feel rest…only anxiety in the burning wound.  However, St. John of the Cross assures us: “nonetheless, in the midst of these dark and loving afflictions, the soul feels the presence of someone and an interior strength which so fortifies and accompanies it…” (Book 2. CH 11. Par 7).  What is this presence?  It is the Holy Spirit!

We want God’s purifying fire to make our hearts pure!  St. John of the Cross makes it very clear that if we do not purify completely in this life, then we will need to be purified in Purgatory after death.  He says, “as the spirits in the other life are purged with a dark material fire, so in this life souls are purged and cleansed with a dark, loving, spiritual fire…Souls are cleansed in the other life by fire, but here on earth they are cleansed and illuminated by love.” (Bk 2. Ch 12. Par 1).  This should not make us afraid…we want to be pure and clean before we meet God.  Purgatory is a mercy from God where we can finally be free of all our disordered passions and attachments and be in union with God.  We must pray for the souls in Purgatory everyday!  Souls in Purgatory know that they are going to heaven once their time of purification is ended.  We must work hard to cooperate with God’s grace to be purified in this life and learn to sacrifice certain attachments and passions for the good of our soul!
As this fire of divine love purifies the soul, the intellect and the will are becoming united as well all for the sake of a deeper contemplation.  St. John of the Cross says, “this enkindling of love and the union of these two faculties, intellect and will, is something immensely rich and delightful for the soul…it is a certain touch of the divinity and already the beginning of perfection of the union of love for which the soul hopes…” (Bk 2. Chapter 12. Par 6)

He offers a further explanation, “when God infuses these spiritual goods the will can very easily love without the intellect understanding, just as the intellect can know without the will loving…” (Bk 2. Chapter 12 par. 7) This means that just as fire gives off light and heat, the light  can sometimes act upon the will leaving the intellect in darkness, or the intellect can have understanding while the will is in dryness.  St. John of the Cross uses this analogy, “All of this is similar to feeling the warmth of the fire without seeing its light, or seeing its light without feeling the fire’s heat.” (Bk 2. Chapter 12. Par 7)

I think that is good for now!  More to come!

 

Lent With Our Mother…

our lady of tenderness

Mary our Mother loves Lent!  Lent is a time where we can offer our prayers and sacrifices to her Son for the Church and for the world.  Lent is a wonderful time in the Church where souls are being transformed by love.  What a beautiful resolution it would be for us to develop our relationship with Mary this Lent.  Mary knows how to love Jesus the best and with her help we will be inspired and encouraged us to make deeper acts of love and penance during this beautiful time!

How can we walk this Lent with Mary?  Perhaps we can resolve to pray the rosary everyday.  The Rosary is basically pondering the life of Jesus in our hearts as Mary did.  The events that we meditate on in the rosary are Mary’s memories of Jesus.  We can also strive to imitate Mary’s patience, sacrifice, generosity and above all- her love.

Pope Pius XI’s Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus says: “the most holy Virgin, united with him (Jesus) by a most intimate and indissoluble bond, was, with him and through him, eternally at enmity with the evil serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and thus crushed his head with her immaculate foot.” https://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_pi09id.htm

We need Mary!  We need her, united with Jesus, to take her Immaculate foot and crush the evil serpent! During temptations and struggles that we may encounter during Lent, we can ask Mary to “crush the evil serpent.”  She will!

Lent is also a wonderful time to talk to Mary all the time!  Even saying her name in reverence and prayer has power!  The Blessed Virgin herself revealed to St. Bridget “that there is not on earth a sinner, however devoid he may be of the love of God, from whom the devil is not obliged immediately to fly, if he invokes her holy name with a determination to repent.” https://www.motherofallpeoples.com/post/st-alphonsus-liguori-on-the-holy-name-of-mary

We need to pray her name many times this Lent!  We can also strive to spend more time in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during these days.  We can contemplate the Word of God, just as Mary contemplated the Word in her home.

Please click on the link below and enjoy this beautiful piece of music and make it your prayer today to Mary:

Stella Caeli

God Knows…

math hopscotch

Have you ever had trouble with Math?  Some people are so fascinated by the world of Mathematics…but some find Mathematics difficult.  What is beautiful about Math is that it is so clear and objective.  The answer to 2+2 is always 4…it is never 5 or 6 or 700.  It is always 4.  However, there are things in life that are not as clear to us…there are truths that we may find difficult to understand…

We have been continuing our discussion on the Dark Night of the Spirit and the afflictions of the soul that happen during this Dark Night of the Spirit.  We explained that it is possible for the soul to feel abandoned by God…but there are other signs as well.  A soul may also feel forsaken by friends.  St. John of the Cross quotes Psalm 87:9: “You have withdrawn my friends and acquaintances far from me; they have considered me an abomination.”  The affections and consolations of friendships seems now to be like an emptiness.

We need to remember that Jesus also experienced moments of darkness.  Remember Jesus’ Passion, “Father, let this cup pass from me, not as I will but as you will…My soul is sorrowful even unto death” (Matthew 26:38). “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  Jesus experienced everything we experience but He is without sin.  God knows us…He knows our weaknesses…He knows our struggles and He knows our moments of darkness.  We should take great comfort in this…God knows.

The soul also experiences “humiliation” which is an awareness of its own poverty and misery.  St. John of the Cross reminds us that God is purging “both the sensory and spiritual substance of the soul and its interior and exterior faculties…” (Dark Night of the Soul Bk. 2. Ch 6. Par 4.) In order to be filled with God, our faculties must be emptied of everything else.  In our last post we spoke about the reason for the darkness: the pure light is striking in order to expel the impurities within us.

St. John of the Cross explains: “Since these imperfections are deeply rooted in the substance of the soul, it usually suffers besides this poverty and this natural and spiritual emptiness, an oppressive undoing and an inner torment” (Dark Night of the Soul., Bk 2. Ch 6. Par. 6).  We must have compassion for souls who enter this state!  But the soul must have great hope in what is being accomplished through this dark night.

In addition to these aridities, the soul will also feel no consolation from the direction of their spiritual director.  Even though the director tells them that they will receive many graces and blessings through going through this dark night, the soul has difficulty believing the director.  He feels that he is misunderstood and abandoned.  The soul does not realize that God is humbling, softening, purifying the soul so that it becomes delicate, simple, refined, and that it “can be one with the Spirit of God according to the degree of union of love that God, in His mercy, desires to grant.” (Dark Night of the Soul Bk. 2. Ch. 7. Par. 3).

It is also possible for a soul in this state to not be able to lift up their spirit to God in prayer.  St. John of the Cross explains that the reason for this is that God is working in the soul.  He says, “It seems incredible that the brighter and purer the supernatural, divine light is, the darker it is for the soul” (Dark Night of the Soul, Bk. 2. Ch. 8. Par 2).  In order to prepare the soul for “divine union of love, the soul must be withdrawn from all creature affections and apprehensions.” (Dark Night of the Soul. Bk 2. Ch. 8. Par 2).

So you might be thinking, “this sounds way too hard for me to handle!”  I suppose hearing about these aridities and the darkness that occurs can shake us a bit…but just think about the graces and blessings that will result after you go through it!  It will be wonderful to be in a divine union of love with God.  It will be wonderful!  May that give you the strength to keep going!

Real and Pure…

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“Love until it hurts.  Real love is always painful and it hurts: then it is real and pure” (St. Mother Teresa).  Have you ever looked at a crucifix…really looked at it?  That is loving until it hurts.  Jesus gave everything…everything…for you and me.

Moms and Dads, you know what it means to love until it hurts.  You sacrifice for your children to have a good life, you spend so much time teaching your children, and helping them to be mature, faith-filled adults.  You watch your children make mistakes and like a good parent you correct them…you are proud of them when they succeed, you support them, even if they fail…why?  Why do you do all this for your children?  Because you love.

Spiritual Fathers out there, priests, bishops, you know what it means to love until it hurts.  You bring all of your spiritual children to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Like a good Father, you help feed our souls with the truths about God and ourselves.  You have been consecrated to offer the Mass for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.  You have been consecrated to offer the Sacraments that bring healing and reconciliation and are able to extend God’s blessing on your spiritual children.  Spiritual Fathers…you give so much of yourselves, just as Jesus gave everything for His Bride the Church.  Why?  Because you love.

Spiritual Mothers out there, consecrated women, and single women you know what it means to love until it hurts.  You who are consecrated offer the gift of yourselves laying down your life out of love for God and the Church.  You who are single, you give yourselves with a spirit of modesty and purity ready to serve the Lord in whatever way He calls you.  Women of God, you see Jesus in the eyes of the people you serve.  You bring your spiritual children to the chapel and offer them at Holy Mass.  You offer sacrifices and prayers so that souls may find Christ…you rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.  Why?  Because you love.

No matter what vocation we have been called to, we come to know something about “real love.”  When we love, it costs something: it is a self-gift.  We can experience this in day-to-day relationships as well.  Relationships are constantly changing: people move away, a loss of a loved one, and this produces pain in our hearts.  But the reason why it is painful, is because the love that you have for that person is real and true.  When our relationships change, it is a reminder that the people we love do not belong to us…they belong to the Lord.

In my experience, I have found that when relationships change that makes room for love to grow deeper and stronger.  I will give you an example.  In Religious Life, the relationship that we have with our families changes, since we join a community and become a Spouse of Christ.  We see our families a few times a year…naturally we love seeing our families.  I have found that the times I do get together with my family are precious times and we take advantage of the moments that we are able to spend together.

Even though relationships will change due to circumstances, choices, events (moving away or death) that does not mean that we stop loving.  In fact, these circumstances can help us to have a deeper love, because we learn to see who that person is in the eyes of God.  Sometimes we do not realize how much we really care about someone until we feel the absence of their presence among us.  But really they are not far away…their memory lives in you…they have become a part of you, they are closer than you think…because you love them.

As we enter our discussion on the dark night of the spirit, we realize that God is allowing the soul to be purified in order to have perfect union and likeness with Him.  We experience many things at this stage that on a natural level are difficult and painful, yet on a supernatural level are so important and beneficial for us.  The dark night of the spirit “feels” like we have been abandoned by God, however in reality God is very very close to us.  We experience pure and dark contemplation.  We can experience affliction in the soul from feeling abandoned by God.  We can feel rejected from friends and find no consolation in spiritual direction.  We can experience humiliation in our soul because we realize our poverty and misery as sinful creatures.  We experience an inability to pray and lift up our spirits to God.

Some of you might be thinking…what kind of a relationship is that?  It sounds like there is no joy or inner peace…that sounds like misery!”  However, many of the saints including St. John of the Cross would argue that this is actually a grace-filled time!

What does St. John of the Cross say about this stage of the spiritual life?

St. John of the Cross says, “when the divine light of contemplation strikes a soul not yet entirely illumined, it causes spiritual darkness.” (Bk 2. Ch.5. par.3) He gives two reasons why the divine light illuminating the soul gives rise to a dark night: “First because the height of divine wisdom which exceed the capacity of the soul.  Second because of the soul’s baseness and impurity; and on this account it is painful, afflictive, and also dark for the soul.” (Dark Night of the Soul, Bk 2. Ch. 5. par. 2)

Today we will discuss how the soul during this time feels abandoned by God.  St. John of the Cross clearly says, “Because the light of wisdom of this contemplation is very bright and pure, and the soul in which it shines is dark and impure, a person will be deeply afflicted receiving it in himself.” (Dark Night of the Soul, Bk 2. Ch. 5. par. 5).  Let’s apply an example to demonstrate what St. John is saying.  For all of you who are not morning people this example is for you!  Imagine when you were young and were still getting up to go to school.  You are in bed, all cozy and tight when suddenly mom walks in and turns on the light right in your face!  It is painful!!  Why is that painful?  You know the light needs to go on in order for you to get up for school…why is it painful?  Because you just spent 7 or 8 hours in a dark room!  So it is with the soul.  Our souls are affected by original sin…they suffer all kinds of temptations, imperfections and sins.  So, God needs to shine His light on our impure souls.  He must do this in order for us to be cleansed.

St. John of the Cross goes on to say, “When this pure light strikes in order to expel all impurity, a person feels so unclean and wretched that it seems God is against him and that he is against God.” (Dark Night of the Soul, Bk. 2. Ch. 5. Par. 5).

You might be thinking:  “Why God?”  St. John explains what God is doing in these moments: “For the hand of God does not press down or weigh upon the soul, but only touches it; and this mercifully for God’s aim is to grant it favors and not chastise it.” (Dark Night of the Soul, Bk 2. Ch. 5. Par 7.)  It is like when your mom takes a splinter out of your finger.  She says, “Honey this is just going to pinch a little.”  And then almost in shock you scream out “AAAHHH.”  But it only hurts for a time…that is the same with the dark night of the spirit, it is only painful for a time, but it is worth it in the end…!”