14 December John of The Cross
St. John is most often remembered today by his writings, including "Dark night of the soul" that I want to consider today.
Juan de Ypres y Alvarez was born in 1542. Juan was brought up in an orphanage and ordained in 1567 after joining the Carmelite Friars. He later on became involved with Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite Nun and mystic.
During his life he endured imprisonment at Toledo during a disagreement among the Carmelites and suffered terribly because of the ordeal. He was imprisoned for more than nine months in a narrow, stifling cell. There his love for Jesus grew in intensity. He eventually escaped and fled to another Monastery. He had written some poems at Toledo, and now he wrote them down, with commentaries to explain their spiritual significance.
"The dark night of the soul" has entered our general conversation but do we ever think about it and consider it's meaning in our lives? Is there a time when suffering or extreme conditions in our life can bring us closer to God?
There is a time when deep prayer can change us and transform our relationship to God. I can tell you that I have had a couple of these experiences, and I don't consider such a severe test of faith to be an entirely negative experience.
What about my readers? In this season of Light overcoming Darkness, do you feel that suffering can bring you closer to God? Do you think the American Church gives us space to engage the suffering side of our journey in faith?
O God, by Whose grace Your servant John of the Cross, kindled with the flame of Your love, became a burning and a shining light in Your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before You as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.