Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The dark night

Don't most of us feel we need to avoid dark times at all costs? Actually, according to one of the great psychologists of the spiritual life, St. John of the Cross, such times are necessary for our development. Here's a wonderful statment about that:

Even though the night darkens your spirit, its purpose is to impart light. Even though it humbles you, revealing the depth of your wretchedness, its purpose is to exalt and uplift you. Even though it empties you of all feeling and detaches you from all natural pleasures, its purpose is to fill you with spiritual joy and attach you to the source of that joy.

~~ St. John of the Cross (1542-91)

So don't expect the journey to feel like uninterrupted progress. There will be times of great difficulty and the feeling that we're getting nowhere. The thing for it is to persevere anyway and remember the importance of practicing distress tolerance. In time we will see that the dark period actually contributed to our maturity.

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