Of course, death is always painful, but nothing real has actually died there – only an illusory identity. About 9:30 that night I received a phone call from the new worship pastor at church. During this obscure time, God works in a person's unconscious to bring about healing and growth. God is treating you as sons. DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL INTRODUCTION SOMEWHAT reluctantly, out of respect for a venerable tradition, we publish the Dark Night as a separate treatise, though in reality it is a continuation of the Ascent of Mount Carmel and fulfils the undertakings given in it: The first night or purgation is of the sensual part of the soul, which is treated in the His poem is what gave us the name Dark Night of the Soul. Traditionally, spiritual directors identify three primary stages (or ways) of growth in holiness. The details are too complex to include here, and not crucial to the point. I was engaged in active gospel ministry from high school on. This was a new experience for me. "With my soul have I desired thee in the night. After hearing the "call within a call", Teresa only heard the voice of God once more before her death. The dark night of the soul is the time when God focuses on our "outward man" and the things that we do. This is no ordinary fit of depression, but it is a depression that is linked to a crisis of faith, a crisis that comes when one senses the absence of God or gives rise to a feeling of abandonment by Him. But God never leaves us or forsakes us {Hebrews 13:5}. Spiritual depression is real and can be acute. California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. To reach that union, however, one must travel through the darkness. I was 31, married to my dearest friend on earth, and had a precious baby boy. Early in the 16th century, the Spanish mystic and poet, St. John of the cross thought deeply on this subject. And though it would take a long time for my weakened soul to recover fully, the night was over. It was the malady that provoked David to soak his pillow with tears. Struck down, but not destroyed. I read the Scripture the next morning before the pastor preached with a heart full of trembling awe. It vacillates. My God answered. Our Lord Himself was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. During the latter months of pregnancy, we had pondered many names. Specifically, when I read how the apostle Paul, in the face of very possible death, the earthly loss of all things, cried from his heart, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). A believer has God’s peace now; he doesn’t have to experience a “dark night” first (Romans 5:1). Navigating The Dark Night Of The Soul: Your Survival Guide . Pixabay. Our churches are practical places, and we generally tell people the answer to any spiritual problem is more: … At some point in the spiritual journey, we come to what St. John of the Cross called “the dark night of the soul” – a season in which our experience of God feels more like absence than presence. 29.7k Likes, 182 Comments - Desiring God (@desiringgod) on Instagram: “In my dark night of the soul, I decided to fly by the instruments — to steer by the Bible’s…” However, due to God’s past dealings with me, I had learned to trust him. Night appears to be a time peculiarly favorable to devotion. The dark night of the soul is a kind of death that you die. The ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ occurs when your life appears to hit rock bottom. What dies is the egoic sense of self. I kept in church fellowship and involved in our inner-city ministry. He is author of three books, Not by Sight, Things Not Seen, and Don’t Follow Your Heart. And twenty years ago this week, light dawned in my darkness (Psalm 112:4). For more than 50 years of her life, "Mother Teresa was wrapped in a dark, pitiless silence", according the soon-to-be-saint's biographer, David Scott. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? The dark night of the soul is a stage in personal development when a person undergoes a difficult and significant transition to a deeper perception of life and their place in it. I suddenly saw the world as if God didn’t exist. “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. Yes, I battled doubts off and on, but they never seriously shook my faith. Our response is a choice–choosing to believe God is who He says He is even in the darkest moments.T his is faith. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. God is with us in the pain. Much has been written about this metaphysical subject if you know where to look. Irregular updates, but we try, we have children you know You will receive a confirmation email from us within a minute, if you don't see it check the junk/spam folder and mark it as safe and follow the instructions to receive our newsletters. Its solemn stillness helps to free the mind from that perpetual din which the cares of the world will bring around it; and the stars looking down from heaven upon us shine as if they would attract us up to God. 4:7-10). He and his wife have five children and make their home in the Twin Cities. During the Dark Night process, the soul brings so much energy to the new path that going against it or resisting it is futile. But in the midst of that, he reminds the church that the treasure we have from God is a treasure that is contained not in vessels of gold and silver but in what the apostle calls "jars of clay." No soul will ever grow deep in the spiritual life unless God works passively in that soul by means of the dark night.” We have a hard time with the dark night. So, although God appeared absent to me, and at times I seemed a hair’s breadth away from believing it, I didn’t. The Dark Night is a long, pervasive, and very dark experience. As I thanked God for Eliana and a safe birth and how God had answered me, I got to thinking, “It was about a year ago the Lord answered my cry. So I bless God for this gift of discipline. Step Sheet. In it he describes the journey of a soul and the unknowable nature of God as “a dark night.” My friend's son could not find a way out. Again, we can be anxious and nervous and worried without finally submitting to ultimate despair. The presence of faith gives no guarantee of the absence of spiritual depression; however, the dark night of the soul always gives way to the brightness of the noonday light of the presence of God. In like manner, we see that it is a good thing to go to the house of mourning, but even in mourning, that low feeling must not give way to hatred. Article Images Copyright ©, Overcoming The Dark Night of the Soul with the Presence of God, How to Start 2021 Strong in the Midst of Chaos. So he must learn to trust what the plane’s instruments are telling him, not what his thoughts and feelings are telling him. Your Dark Night of the Soul is your wind, your cocoon; it is an ego death whereby you shed the ego that prevents you from embodying your Soul. I determined that God, not my doubts, deserved the benefit of my doubt. This phenomenon describes a malady that the greatest of Christians have suffered from time to time. At ninety-two, Clyde Holthauser could no longer live alone. The depression may be profound, but it is not permanent, nor is it fatal. It was the malady that provoked David to soak his pillow with tears. If you find yourself in a spiritual dark night, trust him. Life was mostly ministry, and mostly wonderful. When we get to a certain age, typically around 17 to 35, we become who we are going to be for the rest of our lives. I think having this information will make the darkness easier to navigate. The third phase is the unitive way, in which a soul’s heart and will becomes united perfectly with God. The ultimate outcome for a dark night of the soul, is union with the Divine. Many spiritual greats have written about the Dark Night of the Soul, which is a troubling and incredibly difficult phase of spiritual awakening.. Not everyone on the spiritual path experiences this challenging period, but for those who do, it has the potential to be incredibly transformational. If the eclipse had a corona, I couldn’t see it. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. Essentially, the “dark night” of your soul is not just a bad day, it’s a complete reboot of your entire operating system. She experienced what St John of the Cross described as the "dark night of the soul". The ‘dark night of the soul’ is a term that goes back a long time. I was disturbed at the difference I saw between my experience of satisfaction in God and what I read in the Bible. It is important for us to make a distinction between the spiritual fruit of joy and the cultural concept of happiness. “The Dark Night of the Soul is not merely “having a bad day” or even week. “The Dark Night of the Soul is not merely “having a bad day” or even week. We may be confused and perplexed, but that low point to which perplexity brings us does not result in complete and total despair. For me, it’s fitting that a solar eclipse occurred this week. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, OCD , a 19th-century French nun and Doctor of the Church , wrote of her own experience of the dark night. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? And when the night falls and we cannot see, The bankruptcy of that deceitful fantasy was fully exposed. These are powerful images that describe the conflict that Christians must endure, but in every place that he describes this phenomenon, he describes at the same time its limits. The dark night of the soul. I was earnest about my faith from the beginning. Give sunshine to the soul. After hearing the "call within a call", Teresa only heard the voice of God once more before her death. I believed he would only answer in ways that were best for me. A Prayer for the Dark Night of the Soul. Clyde’s two children and their families couldn’t provide adequate care for him either. Night appears to be a time peculiarly favorable to devotion. Moving Through A Dark Night of the Soul Into A New Phase of Awakened Light. All of our resources exist to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. The person's role in such a time is not significant. Traditionally, spiritual directors identify three primary stages (or ways) of growth in holiness. Even in persecution, as serious as it may be, we are still not forsaken, and we may be overwhelmed and struck down as Jeremiah spoke of, yet we have room for joy. The dark night of the soul doesn't come at the beginning of one's journey to God. The soul desires growth and expansion. His life depends on it. That day I was seized with a Grand Doubt, and scales, rather than falling off, filled my heart-eyes. When Eliana was six, I wrote her song that included these lines: You, Eliana, remind me each day I wanted to say, “No, absolutely not!” And I wondered why he hadn’t called another elder (I wasn’t one). The hopelessness all the existential philosophers describe raged through me. As a very young boy, I had an awareness of God’s existence and experienced his intervention at certain remarkable points. Everything appeared hollow. I did not wish to commit suicide, but I knew I could not endure this darkness indefinitely. Our God answers. The Dark Night is a long, pervasive, and very dark experience. And they were mercifully patient, kind, and surprisingly hopeful and encouraging to me — especially my saintly wife. I suddenly couldn’t see God at all. So I began to fast and pray that God would do in me whatever it took so I would not turn his gifts into idols, that I would love him supremely. The term "dark night (of the soul)" in Roman Catholic spirituality describes a spiritual crisis in the journey toward union with God, like that described by St. John of the Cross. We think of the prophet Habakkuk, who in his misery remained confident that despite the setbacks he endured, God would give him feet like hind's feet, feet that would enable him to walk in high places. The soul comes closer to the Cross of Jesus and is prepared for carrying their cross in union with Christ. Afflicted, but not crushed. the pastor preached with a heart full of trembling awe. We confuse God with our ideas about God, or worse, our ideologies. John Paul Jackson ( Art of Hearing God ) 5 The Dark Night of the Soul. In my dark night of the soul, I decided to fly by the instruments — to steer by the Bible’s direction until I had enough evidence to determine that it was a faulty instrument. The Return of Aliveness: The Dark Night of the Soul. Grief is a legitimate emotion, at times even a virtue, but there must be no place in the soul for bitterness. "—Isaiah 26:9 . ©2008 Ligonier Ministries. Just whisper to me I’m your son!”. And whatever secret envy I had ever harbored for unbelievers, who seemed free to pursue whatever sinful pleasures they wished, was gone. The first is the purgative way, where we break habits of vice, acquire habits of virtue and learn to live a Catholic life. 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