Cloudy Nights of the Soul

Leila at Like Mother, Like Daughter has a great Christmas post (liturgically, we’re still in Christmas, even though today is the 13th Day of Christmas). One of the highlights:

Those wise men did not take their eye off the star. Their pursuit necessitated the perfect balance of faith — plunging into the darkness with only a distant light for a guide, and what, pray, if the night be cloudy? — and reason: a lifetime of study, pondering, thoughtfulness, and dedication to following one’s conclusions to the utter end.

What a great point. There’s always a risk that a focus on one will sufficate the other, but then you see these examples of individuals (like our present Pope) who combine the two so beautifully, it’s moving. And I loved the aside, “and what, pray, if the night be cloudy?” The idea of perservering, knowing that the Star was there, even when it seems cloudy, and travelling onwards where you know you’re supposed to be going is chilling. I’m reminded of Mother Teresa, who did the Lord’s work for a half-century while her spiritual sky was cloudy. She had faith, she had reason, but she didn’t have an emotional crutch of any kind in the Faith. She was more aware than you or I of the depravity of sin and the darkness plaguing the human condition; of the inequalities between the Haves and the Have-Nots, those we see and those we forget; and throughout this all, she was often unable to hear the voice of the Lord comforting her. She perservered, by the Grace of God, through a half-century long “Dark Night of the Soul” (to use St. John of the Cross’ phrase for this phenomenon), like the Magi travelling on the cloudiest of nights.

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