The benefits which this Dark Night causes in the soul. It appears that blessings are being taken away rather than being given. God is now taking us from our swaddling clothes, setting us down from his arms and making us or if you prefer causing us to walk on our own two feet while being taken from the nursing breast to learn to eat the crust of the bread. All this is for the sake of growing the spirit of the wanderer in this Dark night.
The first benefit of the night watch is the knowledge of oneself and one’s misery. An awareness so excellent and necessary, considering itself now as nothing and finding no self satisfaction.
Only in the midst of an authentic community of self revelation and divine revelation is there the sanctuary of salvation’s health. This audit of our humanity brings us to such disclosure of both our spirit and God’s that we could never have come to without a scourging of the depths of our humanity and a grappling after God’s divinity.
This wandering in the lands of wonder are a victory and a vexation. The soul draws out of the wells of salvation in this dry, arid, desert a ladle of humility to drink from.
There are emerging degrees of this self emptying and pathless journey…
- Imperfections are realized.
- We experience frequent ups and downs
- The soul is stripped or wrecked upon God.
- Stripped of all ornaments: Gifts and graces.
- Stripped of all garments: Old experiences, (old wine), power to serve/minister.
- Stripped of beauty: Self admiration, loss of all self-love; hidden in a tomb.
This is a death we do not accept, or can we accept, by ourselves. Only the Spirit of God can do this if we allow Him. Only after these degrees and stripping can we experience life in Christ as a rushing into the ocean, united with the Father in Christ.
4. The final stage is true apostolic life: The Spirit given realization that we possess nothing, that we are of value because of what we are not.