Heat of the Summer Dark Night of the Soul II

We left off with the Prologue of St. John of the Cross.

The translators note: we recall before embarking on an explanation of these stanzas, we should remember that the soul recites them when it has already reached the state of perfection – that is, union with God through love – and has now passed through severe trials and conflicts by means of the spiritual exercise that leads one along the constricted way to eternal life, of which our Savior speaks in the Gospel [Mt. 7:14]. The soul must ordinarily walk this path to reach that sublime and joyous union with God. Recognizing the narrowness of the path and the fact that so very few tread it – as the Lord himself says [Mt. 7:14] – the soul’s song in this first stanza is one of happiness in having advanced along it to this perfection of love. Appropriately, this constricted road is called a dark night, as we shall explain in later verses of this stanza. The soul, therefore, happy at having trod this narrow road from which it derived so much good, speaks[1]

Past tense stanzas, John of the Cross writing to the purification of DNS but not past tense in suffering. Writes this while in prison.

In period of darkness, consolation will come soon, Ignatian discernment. Darkness with lack of awareness, he never loses hope. Keyed in.

Looking at garden, what happened.

John taking his disconsolation, always awful. Worldly attitude. If He permits this level of suffering, God can bring forth good.

  1. Personal Observation Over the Past 40+ years, people turn a hard No to God because of a deep personal wound. When I take the time and patience and listen, the deafness of God is experienced by them. Why (supposedly) loving Father, omniscient One, did you let xyz happen to me?

If the ones faith has not been tended well (winter & spring seasons) then it is very easy to give up and frankly that is the common response.

Necessary adversity. Seeming paradox, man develops muscle only by resistance.

Life of virtue, desert moments, hot scorching days, given to us as resistance, weights to strengthen all our own personal virtue. Some crumble.

Training, hit the wall, won’t win the marathon.

God hard physical trainer going to run 5 mile hot day at the end become something better.

Grow in authentic virtue. Never become more virtuous and holier.

What is fascinating, is those that don’t. Personal testimonies of endurance, succeeding against all odds, that is what captivates us. Watching a dandelion spring up in a crack of concrete is a common picture and is an example of this phenomenon in the gardening/plant world.

[1] Dark Night of the Soul, St John of the Cross, Institute of Catholic Studies trans Kieran Kavanaugh O.C.D., Otilio Rodriguez O.C.D. 1991