Dark Nights Indeed
From the Ascent of Mount Carmel by John of the Cross
"With God's help, then, we shall propose doctrine and counsel for beginners and the experienced that they may understand or at least know how to practice abandonment to God's guidance when He wants them to advance.
For some spiritual directors are likely to be a hindrance and harm, rather than a help to these souls that journey on this road. Such directors have neither enlightenment nor experience of these ways. They are like "The builders of the tower of Babel. [Gn. 11:1-1)] When these builders are supposed to provide the proper materials for the project, they brought 'entirely' different supplies, because they failed to understand the language. And, thus nothing was accomplished. Hence, it is arduous and difficult for a soul in these periods of the spiritual life when it cannot understand itself nor find anyone else who understands it.
It will happen that while an individual is being conducted by God along a sublime path of dark contemplation and aridity, in which he feels lost, he will encounter in the midst of the fullness of his darknesses, trials, conflicts, and temptations someone who, in the style of Job's comforters [Jb. 4:8-11], will proclaim that all of this is due to melancholia, or depression, or temperament, or to some hidden wickedness. And that as a result God has forsaken him. Therefore, the usual verdict is that, since such trials afflict this person, he must have lived an evil life.
There are others who will tell him that he is falling back, since he finds no satisfaction or consolation as he previously did in the things of God. Such talk only doubles the trial of the poor soul, because its greatest suffering is caused by the knowledge of its own miseries; that it is full of evil and sin, is as clear as day, and even clearer, for, as we shall say presently, God is the author of this enlightenment in the night of contemplation. And when this soul finds someone who agrees with what it feels (that these trials are "all its own fault), its suffering and distress grow without bounds And this suffering usually becomes worse than death. Such a confessor is not satisfied with this but, in judging these trials to be the result of sin, he urges souls who endure them to go over their past and make many general confessions-which is another crucifixion. The director does not understand that now perhaps is not the time for such activity. Indeed, it is a period for leaving these persons alone in the purgation God is working in them; a time to give comfort and encouragement that they may desire to endure this suffering as long as God wills, for until then, no remedy-whatever the soul does, or the confessor says, is adequate.
From my thoughts….
Because an extremely inadequate knowledge and through self proclaimed teachers and prophets filled with charisms from God knows where, so many people are scorned. If you do have the intelligence claimed by so many invincible pious frauds then read St Teresa's of Avila’s autobiography and St John’s Ascent of Mount Carmel. Take heed though of the translations, so many are too modern and seek to follow translators opinions of their ability to know the minds of these doctors of the Church .
I have heard so many experts who rarely confess and that is important when we wish to explore God’s intellect in Divine Contemplation. I write it again without grace, without extremely regular confession, you stand no chance of understanding or living the Dark Night of the Spirit or its counterpart the Dark Night of the Soul. Period
Personally I have learnt that I am happy with those "things" I have managed through prayer and absolutely with God's help. Where I live I find the local parish is a biblical Nazareth for me. The sin so often I feel committed against the Holy Spirit, that spiritual envy of the spiritual good I have received really frightens the life out of me because of the dreadful harm it does to these arrogant souls. I was once asked why does God hear your prayers then? Is it because I have confidence He does and I act accordingly? Is it because in that Dark Night of my spirit as I travel in this world on my pilgrimage I count on The Trinity to guide and protect me, steering me on the right path and through the narrow gate of truth?
Work it out for yourselves you have the intellect many of you, though somewhat darkened by insufficient entry into the Grace that sanctifies. If you do not understand or do not want to understand the previous point of view, then I rest my case and say simply practice the Sacraments, practice prayer and read both books and keep your opinions to yourself until you have checked them against Church Doctrine. How's that for harsh words that do not suit many.
Labels: confessors, Cross, Grace, Priets John Vianney, Sacraments, spiritual guides, Teresa of avila vatican 2