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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Dark Night And Analogies for A Special Reader

Deep is this warfare and this striving, for the peace which the soul hopes for will be very deep; and the spiritual pain is intimate and delicate, for the love which it will possess will likewise be very intimate and refined. The more intimate and the more perfect the finished work is to be and to remain, the more intimate, perfect and pure must be the labour; the firmer the edifice, the harder the labour. Wherefore, as Job says, the soul is fading within itself, and its vitals are being consumed without any hope.161 Similarly, because in the state of perfection toward which it journeys by means of this purgative night the soul will attain to the possession and fruition of innumerable blessings, of gifts and virtues, both according to the substance of the soul and likewise according to its faculties, it must needs see and feel itself withdrawn from them all and deprived of them all and be empty and poor without them; and it must needs believe itself to be so far from them that it cannot persuade itself that it will ever reach them, but rather it must be convinced that all its good things are over. The words of Jeremias have a similar meaning in that passage already quoted, where he says: ‘I have forgotten good things.’

I would like to refer to the Exodus story which is an analogy of the movement of the soul, including the Dark Night.

First, the Exodus, the actually leaving of Egypt, is like our initial conversion. We are freed from sin like the Hebrews were freed from slavery. The Passover Event could be compared to that defining moment of change, moving into grace through the sacraments, through the Church.

Second, Moses told the Pharaoh that the People of God had to go into the desert to Sinai to pray. This would be like our first moments of consolation, taking the spoils of Egypt on our way, into the unknown. But, following a leader, and being with others could be consolation, and the spoils of Egypt could be seen as those little consolations God gives us to encourage us when we first come to Him.

Third, we find ourselves in the desert, the Wilderness. Our first impetus is to complain and moan, asking God to remove suffering from our lives. But, this complaining reveals the depth of our sins, our tendencies towards sins, and our predominant faults. God has to get rid of all those imperfections. This is, indeed, the desert of the Dark Night.

Fourth, the long, forty years in the desert is like our Dark Night. We wander, without understanding, until we are purified. That new generation which finally goes into the Promised Land would be only our purified minds, hearts, souls. That entering would be the end of the Dark Night of the Senses and the Spirit, leading into the Illuminative State and finally, the Unitive State. This would be the Fifth Point here. 

I remind readers that one's Dark Night varies in length-for St. John of the Cross, perhaps nine months; for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, fifty years.

Remember, our God is the God of the desert...a repost

On The Desert God

Psalm 28

28 A psalm for David, at the finishing of the tabernacle. Bring to the Lord, O ye children of God: bring to the Lord the offspring of rams.
Bring to the Lord glory and honour: bring to the Lord glory to his name: adore ye the Lord in his holy court.
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of majesty hath thundered, The Lord is upon many waters.
The voice of the Lord is in power; the voice of the Lord in magnificence.
The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars: yea, the Lord shall break the cedars of Libanus.
And shall reduce them to pieces, as a calf of Libanus, and as the beloved son of unicorns.
The voice of the Lord divideth the flame of fire:
The voice of the Lord shaketh the desert: and the Lord shall shake the desert of Cades.
The voice of the Lord prepareth the stags: and he will discover the thick woods: and in his temple all shall speak his glory.
10 The Lord maketh the flood to dwell: and the Lord shall sit king for ever. The Lord will give strength to his people: the Lord will bless his people with peace.

The name El was the title of the desert god of many of the ancient religions. El  was also the god of the storms. However, the One, True God took the name and made it His Own, the God of all Creation, the Father of all Mankind, as well as the God of the Desert. God is still the God of the Desert. Christ Himself went into the desert to pray and allow Himself to be tempted. Over and over again, those who love God went into the desert to leave the world and find Him.

Sometimes, God calls some of us into the desert, as He did with the Desert Fathers.

Why God calls some of us out into the dryness is a mystery of the Dark Night and of purity.

I am in the desert. I know this. When I went to Adoration today, the monstrance was set up in a desert scene of rocks and sand. This is Malta.

In the myth of Psyche  which I have mentioned more than once on this blog, the woman must do penance for doubting love. Such is the path of purification, which takes away all that is stopping Love Himself from coming to one.

The desert experience is a clear symbol of the nothingness of the Dark Night. No consolations, no color, no refreshment, only dryness and a bright light which causes all to be dark because it is so bright.

One's guardian angel can help us in this dark night. 

You might want to check out this post from the past.

On Sunday, we saw Christ in the desert facing temptations. He is God and Man and the temptations were real. But, this was not the first time God was in the desert.
We remember the Hebrews, God's Chosen People being freed from Egypt by God's Mighty Hand and then rebelling over and over again in the desert. Their punishment was 40 years. But, God was with them.
For God had a right to purify His Own; and one of the biggest sins was complaining.
The person or person's with a complaining heart lacks several virtues, and is ignoring a truism
God deserves praise daily. Pride causes complaining. The moaner wants to be a god, to play god.
The moaning one lacks humility and wants to be in control.
Only God is in control and He is in control.
Why did the entire generation of Jews have to die out in the desert for their sins of rebellion?

Why did they not get to see the promised land? Even Moses was punished for striking the rock three times instead of obeying God and striking it once. No big deal, one might think. Why such a harsh punishment? Was it merely that Moses was impatient, or angry? Was it that he was not trusting in God to make water flow in the desert with just one small gesture?

Moses forgot who he was. As a great friend of God, one who walked with God and heard His Voice daily, Moses forgot one small truth. Obedience in the smallest thing which God asks is real Love. Moses died on Mt. Nebo within sight of the Holy Land, God's home for him. This was a terrible punishment for Moses. He was purified in this suffering, as we know that he, Moses, was seen in the Transfiguration with Christ and Elijah
The obedience of the heart is learned in silence. In the desert, there is much silence. In silence, we learn to listen and hear God.
Even Moses had to be punished for not listening. And, yet, we have more than what Moses had. We have Christ in the Eucharist, we have the Church and the sacraments to help us.St Paul writes, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth" Rom. 10: 4
Doing things out of Love is what Paul means. We act out of love and not fear. We act out of love and not merely obedience without love. Moses forgot to act out of love.
Obedience is Love. If one is not obedient in the smallest thing, one is lacking in love.

The desert carves out our hearts so that we have room to love God.
The desert is hard. It is very hot in the day and very cold at night. Sand gets into one's skin, eyes, hair. It is full of dangerous animals. Water is scarce. One has to rely on God totally in the desert. He is our Guide, as we cannot get out of the desert without Him. He is our sustenance, as we are not fed in the desert, without Him.
The world is fast turning into the desert. There will soon be no Catholic nations to go to in order to avoid evils such as abortion, contraception, euthanasia, same-sex marriage. There will be no place to hide.
Among rocks and sand, there are few places to hide. We must create that place in our souls or we shall die.
Learn to live in the desert. 
from today's Morning Psalm, 94
If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
  “Do not harden your hearts
  as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
  when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
  although they had seen my works.”
“For forty years they wearied me,
  that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
  they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
 they will never enter my place of rest.” But God is merciful and He sent His Only Son to help us while we are in the desert.

Dear Lord, help us to learn to live in the desert. Help us now to be so full of love for you, that being in the desert is merely one more way to find You and love you.

To be continued..............

to be continued...