Heat of the Summer Dark Night of the Soul III

Some few souls, through the centuries struggled to find language and expression of this ordinary process.

Sara & I do not propose to offer an exhaustive study but rather some insights and thoughts so that when the valley of tears comes both individually and collectively, as it always does, you dear friend might be better equipped. Teresa of Avila’s attitude, “the sufferings of the Church of Christ, and thus they troubled her greatly.[1]

  1. Definition

Fr. John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary


General term in mystical theology to identify every form of purification through which God leads persons whom he is calling to a high degree of sanctity. It is called “night” to distinguish a person’s normal spiritual condition of seeing, although dimly, by the light of faith; whereas in mystical purification a person is deprived of much of this light. There is a “groping in the night.” It is called a “dark” night to emphasize the intensity of withdrawal of God’s illuminating grace. The purpose of such purification is to cleanse the soul of every vestige of self-love and unite a person more and more closely with God. As the intellect is thus mortified, the will becomes more firmly attracted to God and more securely attached to his divine will. This purification, however, is only a means to an end, namely, 1. to give greater glory to God, who is thereby loved for himself and not for the benefits he confers; 2. to lead the one thus purified to infused contemplation and even ecstatic union with God; 3. to enable the mystic to be used more effectively by God for the spiritual welfare of others, since the more holy a person is the more meritorious are that person’s prayers and sacrifices for the human race.[2]

Concise statement

The feeling of spiritual emptiness, or being abandoned by God, is natural in the process of growing closer to Christ.[3]

Don’t often think of, the more virtuous become, more meritorious the offerings. Beautiful God can’t be outdone in generosity. Growth in virtue bears, amplifies greater fruit.

Magnificat, Magnifies the Lord

BVM boast of creation, true for us as we grow in virtue

Sin foul the intellect

Dante terrifying forest the three animals, driving to feel terror and uncertainty, sin does this

Seek truth and find panderers, someone tells us to stay in the weeds.

Element within human person desires truth, intellect clouded by sin, tendency to reach out to feed the appetite

Not the DNS, soul not body in agony, grow more toward Him. Seems backward. In the darkness to find Him.

God is not His gifts, beyond that. Need to learn how to connect Him. Removes the means enter into authentic communication with God. Will it.

The sin mired in sin longs to be confirmed in sin.

[1] Kheriarty 14

[2] https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=32943  accessed July 4, 2023

[3] Excellent summary https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/spiritual-life/understanding-the-dark-night-of-the-soul.html