The Dark Night of the Soul.

Discussion in 'On prayer itself' started by padraig, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I thought since I am off work and no longer camping to write a little on the Dark Night from a practical point of view, tips and tricks to get out from under any darkness in prayer. At least things that worked for me down the years.:):)

    Everyone is different but maybe they will help. Someone, somewhere sometime.:) I hope so.

    First of all everyone goes through Dark periods in prayer just as everyone goes through dark periods in life itself, it's unavoidable, written in the script, so to speak. I remember one time feeling a little desperate speaking to a Baptist Preacher in the street about being in the Outer Dark and after asking what Church I went to and discovering I was a Catholic diagnosing this as being the problem ; I was not Christian.:D

    It is funny how many Christians think the road to heaven should be a bad of roses. But this is not actually Christian. Look at what Jesus actually said:

    Matthew 16:24

    Take Up Your Cross
    23But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me. For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” 24Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.…


    Matthew 10:16

    Sheep among Wolves
    15Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16Behold, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17But beware of men; for they will hand you over to their councils and flog you in their synagogues.…
  2. padraig

    padraig New Member

    There are two Dark Nights of Prayer mentioned by Mystical Theologians, The Dark night of the Senses and the Dark Night of the Soul.

    The Dark Night of the Senses is basically a fairly brief transitional period the entrance doorway to Contemplative prayer.

    But the Dark Night of the Soul lasts for years sometimes right up to death itself and it is on this I would touch. What is the Dark Night? Well it is basically getting our pots scrubbed, a Purgation, a Purgatory on Earth. A cleansing. Either we do Purgatory in this life or the life to come. Another way of looking at it is a kind of inner child birth, a transition, a moving onto something new, which is Spiritual Marriage or as the Easterners say Divinisation so we can say with St Paul,

    Galatians 2:20

    I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
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  3. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Now to tips and tricks I found helpful.

    Firstly and this is a must, get yourself a good , holy learned Spiritual Director. St Teresa of Avila used to say if she had a choice between a Holy Director and a learned one she would pick the learned one everytime. But if you can find a Holy and Learned one who had actually been through the Dark Night himself you will have hit pay dirt. I could never find one. But my own Director was very Holy and read like crazy so this was wonderful.

    The benefits? Someone to listen to you. Someone to keep you company. Someone to pray for you. Someone to show the way. Someone to be there for you..

    and on and on and on.

    This would be my number one tip a Good Spiritual Director.

    “For God is so desirous that the government and direction of every man should be undertaken by another man like himself, and that every man should be ruled and governed by natural reason, that He earnestly desires us not to give entire credence to the things that He communicates to us supernaturally, nor to consider them as being securely and completely confirmed until they pass through this human aqueduct of the mouth of man.”

    St John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel


    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
  4. AidanK

    AidanK A great sinner

    My spiritual director is a local native , a late vocation who taught for many years in a girls grammar school. A traditional minded SSPX priest who is also a man of the world. Ticks all the boxes
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
  5. Donna259

    Donna259 Archangels

    this was a beautiful set of readings for me this morning, Padraig....

    and let's not forget 2Timothy Chapter 4 6-8

    For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. * I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. * From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.
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  6. AidanK

    AidanK A great sinner

    loved this a Celtic harp rather than a concert harp
  7. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I sense Donna that you have moved onto a place in the Night were I have never yet been , yet were all mankind will eventually find itself. The place just before the Eternal Dawn , lit with stars of Heaven, fading before the Rising Sun of never ending glory. Recall the promise of Christ, 'My grace will be sufficient unto you'.

    The morning star is rising on your mind and heart. Your day is dawning.

    2 Peter 1:19

    We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

  8. Nice post Padraig. It reminded me of this simple prayer given to me some years ago:

    Mary of The Morning,
    Pray for me throughout the day,
    Guide my steps and
    Guard my way.

    Mary of The Evening,
    Pray for me throughout the night,
    Stay with me til
    Morning light.
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  9. padraig

    padraig New Member

  10. Shae

    Shae Archangels

    I really like the simplicity of this prayer JG. Thank you for posting it.
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  11. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Another good tip is to be kind to yourself, you are in a challenging place.

    I love the story of st Teresa making a big steak with wine for one of her nuns who was in a Dark place. :)

    Look for ways to spoil yourself a little and make life easier. These may go against your previous Penetential strain, but do yourself a favour and cut yourself a little slack.:):)
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  12. padraig

    padraig New Member

    A paradoxical tip is to be strict with yourself in some ways.

    A big for instance is the Sacraments. Regular confession as often as you can make it especially to your Director is a must.

    Regular mass attendance. Every day should be your big, big aim. Keep up your spiritual reading especially in the lives of the saints.

    Be forensic in checking yourself out for pathologies , just in case. ;) Is there a history of depression in your family? Have you been taking drug? Hitting the drink too hard?. Are there psyche issues? How are you doing with the ten commandments?

    Just check out the spiritual realities of the situation you are in and review these just in case.:);)
    AED likes this.
  13. Mario

    Mario Powers

    Christiaan Baron
    4 years ago
    Upon a darkened night The flame of love was burning in my breast, And by a lantern bright I fled my house while all in quiet rest, Shrouded by the night And by the secret stair I quickly fled, The veil concealed my eyes While all within lay quiet as the dead.

    [Chorus:] Oh night thou was my guide, Oh night more loving than the rising sun, Oh night that joined the lover To the beloved one, Transforming each of them into the other.

    Upon that misty night In secrecy beyond such mortal sight, Without a guide or light Than that which burned so deeply in my heart, That fire t'was led me on And shone more bright than of the midday sun, To where he waited still It was a place where no one else could come.

    [Chorus] Oh night thou was my guide, Oh night more loving than the rising sun, Oh night that joined the lover To the beloved one, Transforming each of them into the other.

    Within my pounding heart Which kept itself entirely for him, He fell into his sleep Beneath the cedars all my love I gave, From o'er the fortress walls The wind would brush his hair against his brow, And with its smoothest hand Caressed my every sense it would allow.

    [Chorus] Oh night thou was my guide, Oh night more loving than the rising sun, Oh night that joined the lover To the beloved one, Transforming each of them into the other.

    I lost myself to him And laid my face upon my lover's breast, And care and grief grew dim As in the morning's mist became the light, There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair, There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair, There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
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  14. AED

    AED Powers

    Wasn't this written by John of the Cross?
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  15. padraig

    padraig New Member

    The Dark Night reminds me very much of moon or starlight. Especially towards the end. the Dark Night does not end but becomes lit not b the previous sun but by the Light of a thousand moons. A different kind of light. More gentle more all pervasive but a million time lighter than the previous day.

    It reminds me of the Elves in the 'Lord of the Rings' , who loves starlight and moonlight so much. We like the Elves, after a while our eyes adapt t the dark and grow to love it/

    Consider how often Our Blessed Lady is compared to the moon or a star. This is no accident.

    Galadriel's gift to Frodo was starlight to help him by carrying it into the Dark.

    'May it be a Light to you when all else is Dark.'

    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
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  16. AED

    AED Powers

    What a lovely prayer!
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  17. padraig

    padraig New Member

    For when we walk into the Dark we know that Mary Star of the Morning walks with us.

    Song of Solomon 6:10

    …9but my dove, my perfect one, is unique, the favorite of the mother who bore her. The maidens see her and call her blessed; the queens and concubines sing her praises. 10Who is this who shines like the dawn, as fair as the moon, as bright as the sun, as majestic as the stars in procession?11I went down to the walnut grove to see the blossoms of the valley, to see if the vines were budding or the pomegranates were in bloom.…

    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
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  18. padraig

    padraig New Member

    ..and more and more strongly we say, even in the Darkness...for the Dark teaches us...

    Romans 6:8

    Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
    Joseph Gregory likes this.
  19. Thanks AED - I am no saint but I usually wake with a hymn, or a prayer or a line from a psalm running through my mind. That morning I was going through a particularly dark time and it was like Mary asked me to give her that title “Mary of The Morning.” The prayer followed on from there. It wasn’t anything as grand as a locution but was clear just like when I crashed and my car began to roll front to back towards a concrete pole and the words came to me “ You can do nothing about this -just let go” came to me. I am sure my relaxed state helped me survive. On that occasion I felt it was my guardian angel. Padraig can confirm my earlier statement that I am no saint :)
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