Do We Fear or Embrace the Dark Night of the Soul?

by Mark Votava


There are seasons where I feel like my life is unraveling and becoming too difficult to face in a loving way of humility.  It seems I am the lost one who needs some enlightenment.  My pain is too much and I feel like what I want to be living for is not worth it anymore.  I lose courage and joy becoming consumed with what seems like a dark night of the soul.

The silence is frightening.  I lose the desire to really listen to my life deeply.  I try to run from the solitude God is calling me to in these times.  But I am coming to understand that the longer I live, difficult seasons will surely manifest and these are for my own development in life.

  • Silence and solitude will expose ourselves

Silence and solitude will expose ourselves.  We will experience what seems like a darkness at times.  We will experience a desert within ourselves at times.  Most of us do not like anything that resembles darkness and desert experiences.

  •  All our perceived paradigms will be questioned and misplaced

The darkness and desert seasons are difficult.  Our silence and solitude will lead us to a dark night of the soul.  In this darkness all of our preconceived paradigms will be questioned and misplaced.  We will think that God has abandoned us as the body of Christ in the parish.

  •  Constantly seeking God through the dark night of the soul

But this is the natural process of our spiritual growth.  Christ experienced these kinds of things throughout his life and we will have to do the same.  There is wisdom present within us if we do not let these experiences frighten us to the point of giving up our pursuit of God.  We need to seek God constantly through the dark night of the soul.

  •  Breaking through our illusions of control

These experiences teach us necessary wisdom that will help us in ways we cannot understand.  They are mysterious.  They break through all our illusions of control in life.

  •  Trusting God through our pain

Our practice of silence and solitude will help us to walk through the darkness and desert experiences with courage.  We will learn to trust in God through our pain.  These experiences expose the pain that lives within us.

  •  Our pain makes us human in solidarity with others

We all live with pain.  We need to embrace our pain and not pretend that “Christ has completed us” taking all our pain away.  Our pain makes us human and gives us solidarity with others.

  •  Being honest about the existence of pain within our lives

Pain is the commonality that we all experience throughout our lives.  The mystical imagination is not afraid to expose ourselves through the pain of darkness and desert experiences.  The mystical imagination is honest about the existence of pain within our lives.

How can we embrace the seasons of life that are difficult and trust that God is shaping us through what seems like a dark night of the soul?