Homage to the One who Taught me to Embrace the Dark Night

Today is the memorial of St. John of the Cross.  I've started reading about him and his well known work "Dark Night of the Soul" in 2005 after experiencing my own fragments of the night from a series of broken relationships.   It was then when I went on an extreme search for truth that I only began to find in the realities of everyday suffering.  When I say suffering it doesn't mean blood and gore.  That "everyday suffering" of having to bear the discomfort of your inability to withstand certain things like: another person's noise, like the traffic in the highway, like the irritating countenance of a family member, like the work day that passed without fulfillment.  

It was through him that I realized how "suffering" is not actually some kind of "punishment"  that belittles us or renders us unworthy of something better.  This "suffering" that the "dark night" makes us go through is something that makes us aware of the weaknesses in our soul and prods us gently to face them and accept that the only way these weaknesses can be strengthened is to bring it to the light of God's love.

I checked the dictionary and looked up the word belittle and realized how often I equate the word weakness to it.  I conclude too hastily!  But thank God I've realized that weakness means "the state or condition of lacking strength" or "a person or thing that one is unable to resist or like excessively".   In no way does weakness mean "insignificant or unimportant" which is primarily what the word belittle describes as such.

weakness | ˈwēknis |
the state or condition of lacking strength: the country's weakness in international dealings.
• a quality or feature regarded as a disadvantage or fault: you must recognize your product's strengths and weaknesses.
• a person or thing that one is unable to resist or likes excessively: you're his one weakness—he should never have met you.

belittle  | biˈlitl |
verb [ with obj. ]
make (someone or something) seem unimportant: this is not to belittle his role | she felt belittledORIGIN late 18th cent.: a coinage of Thomas Jefferson originally meaning ‘diminish in size, make small’;

Sometimes when I forget to pause and just move too fast in my day,  my thoughts become this muddled pool of explanations that are complicated to sort out.  My understanding becomes limited.  And there lies the source of "suffering".  But the "dark night" has put me in a moment where I'm forced to "not see" so that I am forced to use another kind of "understanding".  Relying too much on my intellect and my senses keep me from reaching that depth of comprehension which leads to my anxiety.  

Today as I remember how St. John of the Cross set straight my intellect, I pray that I remember again and again how my own intellect is not enough to overcome the everyday challenges even if it were just a car driver who arrogantly cut me across the road.  


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