Daily Word of Grace # 185 (November 30, 2020)

During this liturgical season of Advent the daylight lessens every day (at least in the northern hemisphere) which of course means we experience a daily increasing time of darkness.  For those who struggle with seasonal affective disorder or depression this time of the year can be daunting.  The external darkness that can be overwhelming for some, and for others it is matched or surpassed by internal darkness.  This is not uncommon for Christians any less than anyone else.  The renown 16th century Spanish Catholic priest and mystic St. John of the Cross (1542 -1591) addressed this at length in his literary masterpiece Dark Night of the Soul, in which he describes how God uses these times to deepen our faith: “Into this dark night souls begin to enter when God draws them forth…to the end that we may the better understand and explain what night is this through which the soul passes, and…in order that, realizing the weakness of the state wherein they are, they may take courage, and may desire that God will bring them into this night, wherein the soul is strengthened and confirmed in the virtues, and made ready for the inestimable delight of the love of God.”  In other words, God often works through such dark nights of the soul in order to deepen our trust in and reliance upon God’s love—for as a different St. John wrote in his account of the gospel, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5).

Love and Prayers,