#14 – Dark Night of the Soul – LENT 2018

Another of the benefits of the Dark Night is the perpetual or habitual readiness and awareness of God.

In one of the very earliest training workshops led by Fr. Keating, a nun tried out her first twenty-minute taste of Centering Prayer and then lamented, “Oh, Father Thomas, I’m such a failure at this prayer. In twenty minutes I’ve had ten thousand thoughts!”
“How lovely,” responded Keating, without missing a beat. “Ten thousand opportunities to return to God.”

This is the table set in the wilderness of this purging. A table of remembrance.  The 28168056_10216147020448532_6012285428835202310_nongoing practice of seeking and finding builds a muscle memory not of absence but of presence.  As the Lord says in Jeremiah, You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  The cry of the heart is not to become a seeker, but to become whole-hearted in our seeking. 

This is a tremendous discovery on our path way through the wilderness of darkness to the Table of the Lord as the Lord himself instructed us through St Paul, that we are to do this in remembrance of him.

Many Christians are bent on finding sensual satisfaction in spiritual practices. If they do not feel anything then the conclusion is very often…nothing was accomplished.  This is to judge God unworthily.

Christians still under Protest do not participate in the Lord’s Supper in their weekly gathering because they walk by sight. They do not sense anything happening in the sensory realm so they see no need in offering or participating in the unseen graces of the Sacrament.

They only desire to “experience” God as though he were comprehensible by them and accessible to them.  It is impurity in faith.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in his meal be with your spirit.

Prayer Man Warrior

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#13 – Dark Night of the Soul – LENT 2018

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.Authenticity__Self-Awareness__Courage_blog

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…


  1. Imperfections are realized.
  2. We experience frequent ups and downs
  3. 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.


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#12 – Dark Night of the Soul – LENT 2018

The enkindling of love is not as a rule felt at first, because it has not begun to take hold upon the soul.  The soul feels that this thirst of love is a living thirst.  It is not continuous, but occasional and at times more frequent and desperate.

katniss-300x157.gif.8c360dd5d85b65c75c45c85614730fe1Like one who has begun a cure, the soul knows only suffering in this dark and arid purgation of the desire.  By this means it becomes healed of many imperfections and to make ready for this love.

The soul gains so many benefits that it holds it to be a “Happy Chance” to have escaped from the bonds ad restrictions of the sense of its lower self (ego, flesh) by the means of this Dark Night.  At every step we stumbled into numerous imperfections and ignorances.

It will be a matter of great pleasure and consolation, to one that journeys on this road, to see how that which seems to the soul so severe and adverse, and so contrary to spiritual pleasure, works in it so many blessings.

St John of the Cross identifies this as the path into the strait gate and the narrow way thatBlack-amp-White-Computer-Wallpapers-Desktop-Backgrounds-1920x1200- leads to life.  The strait gate is the night of the senses, and the soul detaches itself from sense and strips itself thereof that it may enter by the gate and establish itself in faith, which is a stranger to all sense, so that afterwards it may journey by the narrow way, which is the Other night…that of the spirit.

Remember, the just shall live by faith and walk by faith not by sight, and faith only operates by love and whatever doesn’t proceed forth from faith is sin…

Tetons-20161027-AS-9415To live by faith is…to not live by our ability, education, skill, intellect, hard work, gifts, inventions, disciplines, cleverness, etc.  Faith is another way to live life on another dimension.  Faith is not opposed to these other God given capacities and faculties, but faith has its reasons that reason knows nothing about.  How skilled are we becoming in the practices of our faith?

The Dark Night leaves you barren to give birth, hungry to eat food that nobody else can see.  It is the process of dying to self, to awakening to life in Christ, so that we can in all things be more than conquerors and overcomers…faith is the victory that overcomes the world. Faith moves mountains!

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#11 – Dark Night of the Soul – LENT 2018

largeOne of the traumatic impacts of the Dark Night is the fear of being lost on the road, thinking that all spiritual blessing is over and that God has abandoned us.  The experience of both heart and mind is to grow weary, to live out of memory rather than imagination.  It would be like a hunter letting his prey go free in order to hunt it again.  The danger is turning back if there is no one who understands us because we lose courage.

I spent seven years on the most isolated, lonely back country road leading to seemingly no where.  If it were a road then the number of travelers I encountered was only the faint sound of a car on an unseen road on the other side of the ravine.  I have explained my situation to God, myself and countless others who have been my brothers, pastors, and friends without as much as a clue of what I was undergoing.

God is leading us onto another road, away from meditation and reasoning (purposeful roaduse of the faculties) onto an dark endless highway, which is not the same as some divine eternal highway.  This darkened path is the path of contemplation and does not yet boast of any signage of how far you’ve come nor how far you have to go.  In fact, it would be safe to say that there isn’t really any path that one can see.  It is densely encumbered with a plethora of obstacles, stones, underbrush and trees that give no indication that you are on a path.  There is no map, no compass, no light or shadows to give any indication of a journey or of progress.  You are simply groping and stumbling around in a maze of madness.

labyrinth-wallpaper-1The expectation of the Dark Night of the senses is that we are to persevere in patience and to not think of yourself as having been afflicted.  Trust that God will give you everything that you need and that he will be bringing you into a clearing of the light of his love and that it will all make sense.  This all comes about when you encounter the second Dark Night of the spirit if you merit God bringing you into that next dimension.

I can testify that God by means of his favor through many a good person has treated us well and given us wonders in the wilderness with health, provision, love, prayer and visitation during these languishing laments.

This time of isolation appears as though nothing is being accomplished and is a terrible 03f79799a3ae863060f326a67239fa4b--grey-wood-family-treeswaste of time and talents.  I have been sitting on the bench with my glove in my hand just waiting for an opportunity to get in the game, but it has been met with constant rejection.  It seems as though I have wasted all my years of preparation and that my life has amounted to nothing.  I am amazed that anyone, especially my children, finds any reason at all to stand near me, let alone beside me and behind me as I dissolve into nothing.  The testament of their love is my only dim recognition that God exists and that his love must be more tangible than is currently imaginable.

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#10 – Dark Night of the Soul – LENT 2018

One of the telltale signs that one may believe that he is experiencing a severe purging is IMG_7452.PNGthat the memory ordinarily centered upon God, now finds itself without sweetness in the things of God.

However, this does not come from weakness and lukewarmness, for it is the nature of lukewarmness not to care greatly or to have any attentiveness for the things of God.  Thus there is a great difference between aridity and lukewarmness.

The flesh may be weak, but the spirit is willing.

The senses are devoid of any positive experience of being present to God, however the spirit lives from an inward food even though it resides in an arid and dark state of contemplation.

Because this work is as we mentioned from the beginning is passively welcomed as being worked in us through God’s initiative any efforts of our faculties hinders the work  rather than aids it.  God chooses to bind our interior faculties, blinds our ability to understand, debilitates our will, and creates amnesia in our memories…and more because he is accomplishing in the spirit by the aridity of our senses.

hooded-man-2580085_1920My experience of this dark night has left me floundering in my faith, depressed in my hope and questioning his love and care…really his interest and involvement.  My whole state has gone through overwhelming swells of depression and abandonment.  The will or bodily energy to go on is shattered like a vase across a concrete floor.  I am not anything close to the self that I once knew.  I am dried up and worn out.  I have lost all ability to sustain emotional stability or longevity.  I do not know the me that I have been left with and I do not know why God has chosen to make me abandon all that he made and leave me with nothing but a ghost town of mind, will and emotion.

This has been the most austere treatment I have ever known and I do not appear to myself as myself nor to others to be very well.



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#9 – Dark Night of the Soul – LENT 2018

The Dark Night is contemplation and produces two kinds of purging: sensual and katniss-300x157.gif.8c360dd5d85b65c75c45c85614730fe1spiritual in order to be made ready for the divine union of love with God.

The night of sense is common and comes to many.  The night of the spirit is the portion of very few.  The night of the senses is bitter and terrible, but the night of the spirit bears no comparison for it is horrible and awful.  It is an arduous journey toward the heart of God’s love.

This darkness comes in a time of spiritual prosperity, wellness of the soul and then God turns all this light we walk in, into darkness and shuts the door and the source of the well of the springs.  He leaves us in the dark to such magnitude that you do not know what to do or where to go.

under waterWe are unable to advance in any direction of spiritual life.  The inward senses are submerged in this night and left with such dryness that not only do we not find any inspiration to practice the faith, but that to do so is boredom and bitterness.

God sets us down on our own and teaches us to walk on our own, which feels very strange because everything seems to be going haywire.

For the past five years on this blog site and on my Facebook page (an open journal) I have wrestled and struggled in the grosses darkness of my life with Christ which is coming upon 50 years of walking with him.  Never has it been so bleak, wretched and miserable in the confines of my mind, will and emotions.  At least Motel 6 they will leave the light on for you.Motel-6-Sacramento-West-photos-Exterior

This arid place of purging is the land of prophets and poets.  Read the Psalms if you care to…

The Dark Night is so DARK that you cannot take a picture of it because it is on the out skits of utter DARKNESS.


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#8 – Dark Night of the Soul – LENT 2018

E N V Y   &   S L O T H


ENVY…The experience of displeasure at the spiritual good of others so that we would


Love does not Envy

prefer not to hear others praised and in fact cannot refrain from contradicting what is said in praise of them.  Annoyance grows because the same praises are not said of us.  All this is contrary to charity (love-agape).

If charity has any envy, it is a holy envy, comprising grief of not having the virtues of others, yet also joy because others have them and delight when others outstrip us in the service of God.


SLOTH…We are wearied by the things that offer to us no spiritual sweetness.  Many would have God will that which they themselves will, and are fretful at having to will that which He wills, and find it repugnant to accommodate their will to that of God.  We measure God by ourselves and not ourselves by God.  We find it irksome when we are commanded to do that wherein we take no pleasure.  We are too weak to have the fortitude and bear the trials of perfection.  They resemble those who are softly nurtured and run fretfully away from everything that is hard, and take offense at the cross.

Next….the DARK NIGHT



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