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A Red State Mystic.

On the Dark Night of the Soul (7)

On the Dark Night of the Soul (7)

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The Swoop


TODAY IS THE Feast of St. John of the Cross, the eminent Carmelite Mystic whose understanding of the Christian Life has greatly shaped my own spiritual landscape, along with Julian of Norwich and St. Teresa of Avila. Here is the collect for today:

Judge eternal, throned in splendor, who gavest Juan de la Cruz strength of purpose and mystical faith that sustained him even through the dark night of the soul: Shed thy light on all who love thee, in unity with Jesus Christ our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

AS MOST OF you know, I began a series of posts in July about my own Junior Version of The Dark Night of the Soul that I have been in for at least a few years now. Here are the posts:
  • The First Post gives most of the autobiographical information about my life since graduating from Milligan and "the perfect storm" that began to swirl around me. (You can also add my reposted "On Love" post to that maelstrom of discontent to further understand what is going on). I also talk about St. John of the Cross' three signs of The Dark Night.
  • In The Second Post, I write about the shame and the loneliness that I have experienced from all of this. It includes these sentences that were very liberating both to write and to share: "Right now, who I am in Christ is confused, in pain and feels a deep loneliness from God (and thus, other people). Who-I-am-in-Christ knows nothing but these terrible things. And as it came from God, so too, do I give it to you, this darkly-wrapped Night of pain, loneliness and suffering."
  • The Third has my answers to my most frequently asked questions.
  • I write about Evelyn Underhill's five signs of the Dark Night in the Fourth Post.
  • St. John of the Cross wrote about the three spirits that visit during the Night: Fornication, Blasphemy (focusing mainly on reverse ecstasies) and Vertiginis -- which I still have yet to write.
  • Finally, "On Sinking In the Mud" which may be one of the best things I have ever written and is the summation or natural conclusion of the rest of the posts.
I AM ASKED occasionally if I am still in the Dark Night. I am very much so. Right now, I am -- through the grace of God -- discovering a lot of hidden anger and bitterness I didn't even realize was in my life until very recently. I'm sure you'll be reading about it in the upcoming days and weeks. I'm not quite finished writing about all of this. As always, thanks for reading!
  • Great!

    Goodness, Andy, we're in similar stretches of the vast ocean of love, I would say! The Dark Night of the Soul began a while back for me, as well, and though I was under the impression it was slowing down earlier this year or that I was coming out of it, these last two weeks have proven that I'm in the very thick of it.

    Naturally, I've been posting on a similar subject, and I feel the deepest of compassion for you. In the end, it is but the Grace of God Himself that will carry us out of the darkness.

    I've never finished reading a lot of the mystical works by Christians, so perhaps I'm in no position to comment on them or their imagery, but I would liken the dark night of the soul to being caught in the Great Veil that separates Man from God, symbolically represented by the veil in the Temple which was torn asunder upon Christ's death.

    Perhaps we are seeing what it is like to have to the veil torn asunder inside of us. The influx of the Holy One forces to the surface all darkness, and we must surrender it to Him again and again.

    I have said too much.

    -Stevo
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