Although by night

I came across the following quotations in the last few days. It is consoling to discover that others have gone through similar experiences.

Have we ever tried to love God where no wave of emotional enthusiasm bears us up and we can no longer confuse ourselves and our life-urge with God, where we seem to be dying of a love that looks like death and absolute negation and we appear to be calling out into nothingness and the utterly unrequited?Karl Rahner

[Quoted in Soelle, The Silent Cry, Fortress Press,  p. 133. No reference given.]

I feel an ever increasing sense of devastation, both in my intellect and in the centre of my heart, at my inability to think with truth at the same time about the affliction of men, and the perfection of God, and the link between the two.I have the inner certainty that this truth, if it is ever granted to me, will only be revealed when I myself am in affliction, and in one of the extreme forms in which it exists at present.Simone Weil

[Seventy Letters, OUP, 1965 p. 178; quoted in Anderson, David, Simone Weil, SCM Press 1971 p. 90]

Que bien sé yo la fuente que mana y corre

Aunque es de noche

Su origen no lo sé, pues no le tiene

Mas sé que todo origen de ella viene,

Aunque es de noche

St. John of the Cross


[How well I know the fountain’s rushing flow / Although by night. / I do not know its origin, no one does / But I know that all origin from it comes / Although by night.Poems of St. John of the Cross, trans. Roy Campbell, Collins Fount 1979 p. 44] 

I think I am only just beginning to understand what faith means. We tend to think, at least I do, that the extraordinary mystics, like John of the Cross and Simone Weil, went around with, as they call it in the East, the ‘Third Eye’ wide open, aware of the divine Presence permeating everything. Not so. We all walk in darkness illuminated now and again by glimmers of light and moments of inexplicable joy. Perhaps for them the glimmers were brighter and the joy lasted a bit longer but the prevailing mode is darkness. The worst thing, as Rahner points out, is that the darkness is not only not being able to see but also not being able to feel anything either. There is no heightened emotion, no prevailing ecstasy, no spirit-filled exuberance.  There is simply the dry, dull, often banal, often boring and tedious daily routine. And that is where faith comes in. 


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