Pysche and Eros
I have written on this subject before on this blog. In ourselves, as one approachs God in the Dark Night, one begins to realize that for a long time, fear has blocked one's openness to the love of God and the love of other people.
When I wrote about this phenomenon before, I was thinking of particular people I knew in the past who never became intimate with another person. I thought of one beautiful young woman who was hurt several times in love affairs and finally decided never to love or be loved again.
She decided to live in the shadows of what it means to be human.
Like a grey ghost, her life was circumscribed to choosing death rather than life, because the soul curls up and dies without love. She decided that the suffering of love was not worth the joy of love. She decided that it was too painful to both love a person who was imperfect and to love herself as imperfect.
|Thanks to Wiki for Teresa in Ecstasy|
I thought of three men I knew who closed their lives to the adventure of love for three completely different reasons. The first only wanted to give and not take. He was too afraid to take, which meant that his emotional life was stunted by pain from his past.
The second could only take and not give. He was incapable of breaking through defensiveness and pain, moving into a forgiveness, and letting go of his past so that he could love those in his present life. Again, his life remained ghostly and on the edges of human potential. Although he wanted love, he did not learn how to give and get out of himself.
The third person was too afraid to engage at all in either giving or taking love. The traumas of his life caused to live in a safe world, not taking any chances to love or be loved. Of all these three men, this one remained the most haunted and circumscribed, again, like a familiar ghost, stuck in his small surroundings and highly organized world, not letting anyone break down the walls of fear and self-hatred.
In the Dark Night, one faces the real fear of both losing God's love through sin and self-will, and gaining God's love in humility and truth.
Real love demands that one see one's gross failings and yet remains open to love, not hiding, not saying no out of a false pride or false self-loathing.
The balance is all.
In the Dark Night, God comes again and again into the shadow world of the loss of memory, understanding and will to meet one in a completely new way.
A wise priest who understands the way of perfection told me three things today I would like to share with you. I have added ideals from the myth of Psyche and Eros, one of my favorite myths, to help clarify these words.
The first is not to give up on the slow process of perfection, paying attention as one goes along and even finding joy in the painful stages. But, one must pray for all blocks to God to be removed. One of these blocks can be the fear of being loved by a God...remember the myth of Psyche. She did not know she was being loved by God and was tricked into trying to see who it was who was loving her. She should have waited and trusted in the darkness of the night and not lit the candle to see Love. She was rushing illumination and infused knowledge, which the god would have given her if she would have waited. She thought that the most beautiful god in the heavens was a beast who was deceiving her. So, too, one must learn to trust God in the Dark Night.
This joy is part of the knowledge that one is truly following God to the best of one's ability and that God is faithful in His pursuit of His beloved. One must wait for God but also wait for one's self and not do damage to the natural process of the growth to perfection, which leads to the second point.
The second is that the process is faster for some and slower for others totally depending on God's Will and plan for that person. One cannot push the process to go faster, or to slow it down without doing great harm to the soul. Psyche had to perform tasks in order for her to be reunited with Eros. She could not rush these, and several things aided her in these tasks because she was open and humble. So too, one must do the work, but in humility, not always knowing the way. One is afraid that if the other person who loves really knows one, that the love would end. The tasks given to each one of us strengthen one's trust in God. The tasks demand that one learns to be humble enough to accept love even though one is imperfect and still sinning those little venial sins.
The third wise thing the priest said was that God wants to give each one of us more than one can imagine. He desire to reveal Himself to us and to be one with us. So, too, with Pysche, who not only ended up marrying her beloved god, Eros, but having a child with him, named Joy. Sometimes people are afraid of what God will ask of them if they accept God's Love. This fear of responsibility fades away in the Face of Divine Providence.
What the ancients tell us is also what the mystics tell us in that joy only comes through trials and trust and loving God. Joy comes eventually, after fear and false pride die. One must not be afraid. One must trust.
Such are hints for those in the Dark Night of the Spirit....