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In Darkness, Let There be Light
by Bonnie Moss (c) 2011 December

Every human life is made up of the light and the dark, the happy and the sad, the vital and the deadening. How you think about the rythmn of mood makes all the difference.
Dark Night of the Soul.. Thomas Moore

There are many shades of darkness. There are many faces of shadows. We feel them, we live through them, for better or for worse. We do not have to wallow in them, or be lost , confused or give up. These are threads woven into the rich fabric of Life that is a testament to human challenges and experience. Every joy or sorrow, victory or defeat , hopes and dreams, failures, loss, wrong choices, mental and physical health or lack of it need to be acknowledged, not denied.

John of the Cross (Fontiveros, Spain, June 24, 1542; d. Ubeda, Dec. 13, 1591)was a Spanish mystic, poet, a priest and was an active member of the Carmelite order, along with St. Teresa of Avila in the 16th century. He is credited with the phrase, dark night of the soul. He is renowned for his poetry and writings in ascetical-mystical theology. He offers the deepest foundation for the promotion of human values.

His writings have been a great influence in spiritual theological studies. Pius X1 proclaimed St.John of the Cross a Doctor of the Church, stating that his major treatises- The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night, The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love are looked upon as a code and guide for the faithful soul who endeavors to embrace a more spiritual life. His writings were relevant then in his time, and still is today. Into the 21st century. Pope John Paul II wrote his theological dissertation on the mystical theology of St. John of the Cross.

Thomas Merton writes: And thus St. John of the Cross not only makes himself accessible to us, but does much more: he makes us accessible to ourselves by opening our hearts to God within their own depths. Sanctity can never abide a merely speculative solution to the problem of suffering. Sanctity solves the problem not by analyzing but by suffering. It is a living solution, burned in the flesh and spirit of the saint by fire. Scripture itself tells us as much.

"As silver is tried by fire and gold in the furnace, so the Lord trieth hearts" (Prov 17:3).

The role of fate and destiny can not be ignored. Some believe that man has an assigned destiny at birth. Others dispute this and hold that they are in charge of their destiny. We are endowed with free will- we map our course to ultimately reach what is meant to be. Darkness comes in the fringe of shadows. Emotional and physical suffering open the portal to our dark side. In his book, Dark Nights of the Soul, Thomas Moore writes that the difference between depression and dark night is that depression is a mood you endure and try to get through, while a dark night is a process where the soul is refined and the intelligence is deepened. How you imagine the ordeal makes all the difference.

Suffering happens, and people endure these as they seek to mature spiritually , reach out to God, or the Source or whatever name they call it. It is through dark nights that we face ourselves,confront and acknowledge what is happening and thus find a deeper meaning of life and not only evolve into a better person but get transformed.

The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspect of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for self-knowledge, and it therefore as a rule meet with considerable resistance. These shadows are repressed elements of the personality which we choose not to be identified with.
Carl Jung

Just as there is light, there is also darkness. The shadow element is usually our worst side. Shadows lurk in the dark, in the deep recesses of the psyche, buried in the heart, in the mind. It never leaves, it is frightening and wear many masks. The shadow is not a concept or imagination, it is very real! The courageous person may have a cowardly shadow. The kind, gentle and caring person may have a cruel side hiding behind all that softness. Even among the most benevolent, the most respected personalities and leaders in every field of endeavor, part of their shadow element peeks through their eloquence and their elegance.

Some call shadows demons that stick around in every dark corner, in every dark night, in every perilous turn, in every struggle and conflict. When we are at the lowest point in our lives, shadows haunt us, plunging us into darkness. Words and actions are in conflict. In darkness ,conflict and fear grips at the heart, at times goes deep into the soul. In the dark, we are open to temptations, obsessions, addictions, co-dependency and other forms of indulgence, all a form of self-sabotage.

Some believe that even trusted experience may lead you into the dark. We can take the good. Work with the bad. Go deep within; let the fears and insecurities buried deep within surface. Confront the anger seething under the skin. No matter how many dark clouds hover above us, no matter how long the dark night is, light will surely come. These dark nights offer a chance to enrich and nourish our spirit, our soul and our lives. It helps us to align ourselves with our highest purpose.

We need face the darkness without fear and see the light .

Ref :


Secular -carmelite.org
Wikipedia
Catholic encyclopedia on St John of the Cross


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