Reblogged from: It Takes a Dark Night to See Forever
Our humanness—that is, our selfish, sinful, materialistic ways—distances us from God. And anything that is at a great distance is hard to see or to hear. Take the stars, for example. You need a clear, dark night to see them. And the darker, the better. To get things dark enough, you should really get away from all distractions (what star-buffs refer to as “light pollution.”)
That’s the essence of contemplative prayer. It involves isolating ourselves in a quiet place, and then closing our eyes and ridding our minds of any thought. Without any distracting thought clouding our mind’s eye, we begin to see the faint aura of the Holy Spirit from its great distance. The more often we pursue this practice, the quicker we are able to “darken” our inner sky; and the quicker we become receptive to God’s call upon us.
Some people say God speaks to them directly, and daily. Perhaps that’s true. Or perhaps what they attribute to God speaking to them is what I regard as my inner voice and instinct intuition. Regardless, I have not and believe that I cannot know God this way. I firmly believe that it is imperative of me to clear my head of all egocentric and worldly-rooted desires and notions before attempting to communicate with Him. Otherwise, I am afraid that what I “hear” will merely be self-interested manifestations of what I “think.”
The Catholic contemplatives have a term for the hardship Christians face as they move away from our temporary, materialistic world and pursue the eternal light of God. They call it “The Dark Night of the Soul” (after a poem written by Saint John of the Cross in 1578). I don’t think anybody wants to be in the dark. I certainly don’t. But I think it takes the darkest of nights to see out into forever.