We are beloved companions on a mystic journey, sharing our solitude and holding the world in the divine prayer of love.

"Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory. Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance. And transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead Itself through contemplation."
- from St. Clare's third letter to Blessed Agnes of Prague.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We Rise in Darkness

First coffee comes at 5:30 this morning. The quarter moon has already set and except for the brilliance of stars, the hermitage wakes in darkness. The nights already grow shorter, however. Since the December solstice we’ve gained a half hour of daylight in the morning and another half hour in the evening. With midday temperatures in the sixties, the itch of spring already teases our afternoons. And already, I’m missing the winter.
We are creatures of the dark. We are conceived and our bodies form in darkness. We protest with all the strength of our newbie lungs when we are pulled into the light of birth. Our vital organs function in the darkness of our shells. Thoughts smolder in the darkness of our minds until we breathe them into daylight. Darkness, even though it has come to represent danger or evil, is our most natural element and, during the winter months of introspection, is the actual condition in which we spend most of our hours.
No wonder the spiritual masters insist that Spirit can lead us to the Godhead only in obscurity, that we can glimpse divinity in this life only as “through a glass darkly.” John of the Cross wrote of the dark nights of the senses and spirit, “To reach a place that you know not, you must go by a way that you know not.” No wonder, then, that our deepest inclination is to plunge ourselves in darkness, like plants that in their botanical wisdom root themselves in the rich underground.
The message of winter, the message Christin’s sister Liz received during her final weeks, is “Be still and wait.” Endurance is all in the “bleak midwinter” until we are led once more to the annual renewal of spring.

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

-Wendell Berry, "To Know the Dark"


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