This is the last of our series on Developing Our Relationship With God. Thank you for your kind comments during this series. You are appreciated.
St. John of the Cross, a Doctor of the Church, calls these movements of God at work in us the “Dark Night of the Senses and the Soul”. In the “Dark Night of the Senses” God helps the person to completely purify our seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling for the sole purpose of allowing the spirit to lead the body so that what we become, as St. Paul says, spiritual children. For it is the spirit that is eternal and not the body. Within each of us there is a battle going on where the weak and sinful side of us wants things for selfish purposes, for self satisfaction and gratification. We all experience this battle. Some people are just more aware of it as they become more Christ like. There is another aspect to yourself which is known as your true self. The person that we are meant to be. The person who is seeking a virtuous life, a holy life charged with Divine love. So this “Dark Night” purges away selfish inclinations and selfish behavior.
The “Dark Night of the Soul or Spirit” is God’s work within us, purifying the intellect and the will to be pure for God alone. This may seem to be scary as if we are losing our freedoms to do what we want. In fact, however, it is just the opposite. We will gain our freedom not loose it for our will is placed into the hands of God.
These purifications are called “nights” because we, in a very real way, are detaching ourselves from seeking only finite things for their own sake instead of using them as gifts from God. It is an experience of “emptying” for us because we are beginning to realign our lives to serve God more not just ourselves. “We travel a road to God in the pureness of faith by accepting and acting on God’s word rather than on our own perceptions. They are painful because there is a reordering of our egocentristic self into a Christocentric self” Fire Within: Thomas Dubay And as St. Paul says, “It is not I who lives, it is Christ who lives in me.”
With these brief explanations of our life of prayer I hope and pray that you will be inspired to begin to deepen your relationship with God who is nothing but pure love and seeks only what is best for each of us.