June 12th, 2016

taste supernatural things

It is in the flow here by Lake Michigan 10:14 AM Sunday morning. The sun is shining and it is not hot. It is nice cool day here. I slept better last night since the bedroom was not hot.

I got up this morning around 7 o'clock AM. I made a pot of coffee and messed with our main computer. After messing with our main computer I wrote in my paper diary and then got out and read THE DARK NIGHT by St. John of the Cross. When my wife got up I made a pot of oatmeal for breakfast.

Carol left for Covenant PCA and I have been reading THE DARK NIGHT. So the morning goes by. Not much else to report right now. I have no plans for the day ahead.

"16.4.(2). Since these natural faculties do not have the purity, strength,
or capacity to receive and taste supernatural things in a supernatural or
divine mode, but only according to their own mode, which is human and
lowly, as we said, these faculties must also be darkened regarding the
divine, so that weaned, purged, and annihilated in their natural way they
might lose that lowly and human mode of receiving and working. Thus all
these faculties and appetites of the soul are tempered and prepared for the
sublime reception, experience, and savor of the divine and supernatural,
which cannot be received until the old self dies.

16.5. Consequently, if all spiritual communication does not come from on
high, from the Father of lights, from above the free will and human
appetite [Jas. 1:17], humans will not taste it divinely and spiritually but
rather humanly and naturally, no matter how much their faculties are
employed in God and no matter how much satisfaction they derive from this.
For goods do not go from humans to God, but they come from God to humans.

16.5.(2). Here we could explain, if this were the place, how many persons
have numerous inclinations toward God and spiritual things, employ their
faculties in them, derive great satisfaction by so doing, and think their
actions and appetites are supernatural and spiritual when perhaps they are
no more than natural and human. Because of a certain natural facility they
have for moving the appetites and faculties toward any object at all, their
activity with spiritual things and the satisfaction they derive are the
same as with other things.

16.6. If by chance the opportunity arises we will give some signs for
recognizing when the movements and interior actions of the soul in its
communion with God are only natural and when only spiritual, and when they
are both natural and spiritual.2 Here it is sufficient to know that if the
soul in its interior acts is to be moved by God divinely, it must be
obscured, put to sleep, and pacified in regard to its natural ability and
operations until these lose their strength.

16.7. Oh, then, spiritual soul, when you see your appetites darkened, your
inclinations dry and constrained, your faculties incapacitated for any
interior exercise, do not be afflicted; think of this as a grace, since God
is freeing you from yourself and taking from you your own activity. However
well your actions may have succeeded, you did not work so completely,
perfectly, and securely -- because of their impurity and awkwardness -- as
you do now that God takes you by the hand and guides you in darkness, as
though you were blind, along a way and to a place you know not. You would
never have succeeded in reaching this place no matter how good your eyes
and your feet.

16.8. Another reason the soul not only advances securely when it walks in
darkness but even gains and profits is that when in a new way it receives
some betterment, it usually does so in a manner it least understands, and
thus ordinarily thinks it is getting lost. Since it has never possessed
this new experience, which makes it go out, blinds it, and leads it astray
with respect to its first method of procedure, it thinks it is getting lost
rather than advancing successfully and profitably. Indeed, it is getting
lost to what it knew and tasted, and going by a way in which it neither
tastes nor knows.

16.8.(2). To reach a new and unknown land and journey along unknown roads,
travelers cannot be guided by their own knowledge; instead, they have
doubts about their own knowledge and seek the guidance of others. Obviously
they cannot reach new territory or attain this added knowledge if they do
not take these new and unknown roads and abandon those familiar ones.
Similarly, people learning new details about their art or trade must work
in darkness and not with what they already know. If they refuse to lay
aside their former knowledge, they will never make any further progress.
The soul, too, when it advances, walks in darkness and unknowing.

16.8.(3). Since God, as we said, is the master and guide of the soul,3 this
blind one can truly rejoice now that it has come to understand as it has
here, and say: in darkness, and secure.

16.9. There is another reason the soul walks securely in these darknesses:
It advances by suffering. Suffering is a surer and even more advantageous
road than that of joy and action. First, in suffering, strength is given to
the soul by God. In its doing and enjoying, the soul exercises its own
weakness and imperfections. Second, in suffering, virtues are practiced and
acquired, and the soul is purified and made wiser and more cautious.

16.10. Another more basic reason the soul walks securely in darkness is
that this light, or obscure wisdom, so absorbs and engulfs the soul in the
dark night of contemplation and brings it so near God that it is protected
and freed from all that is not God. Since the soul, as it were, is
undergoing a cure to regain its health, which is God himself, His Majesty
restricts it to a diet, to abstinence from all things, and causes it to
lose its appetite for them all. This effect resembles the cure of sick
people when esteemed by members of their household: They are kept inside so
that neither air nor light may harm them; others try not to disturb them by
the noise of their footsteps or even whisperings, and give them a very
delicate and limited amount of food, substantial rather than tasty.

16.11. Because dark contemplation brings the soul closer to God, it has all
these characteristics; it safeguards and cares for the soul. Because of
their weakness, individuals feel thick darkness and more profound obscurity
the closer they come to God, just as they would feel greater darkness and
pain, because of the weakness and impurity of their eyes, the closer they
approached the immense brilliance of the sun. The spiritual light is so
bright and so transcendent that it blinds and darkens the natural intellect
as this latter approaches it.

16.11.(2). Accordingly, David says in Psalm 17 [Ps. 18:11] that God made
darkness his hiding place and covert, and dark waters in the clouds of the
air his tabernacle round about him. The dark water in the clouds of the air
signifies dark contemplation and divine wisdom in these souls. When God is
joining them closer to himself they feel that this darkness is near him as
though it were a tabernacle in which he dwells. That which is light in God
and of the loftiest clarity is dense darkness for the soul, as St. Paul
affirms [1 Cor. 2:14], and as David points out immediately in the same
psalm: Because of the splendor encircling his presence, the clouds and
cataracts came out [Ps. 18:12], that is, they came out over the natural
intellect, whose light, as Isaiah says in chapter 5, obtenebrata est in
caligine ejus [Is. 5:30].4

16.12. Oh, what a miserable lot this life is! We live in the midst of so
much danger and find it so hard to arrive at truth. The clearest and truest
things are the darkest and most dubious to us, and consequently we flee
from what most suits us. We embrace what fills our eyes with the most light
and satisfaction and run after what is the very worst thing for us, and we
fall at every step. In how much danger and fear do humans live, since the
very light of their natural eyes, which ought to be their guide, is the
first to deceive them in their journey to God, and since they must keep
their eyes shut and tread the path in darkness if they want to be sure of
where they are going and be safeguarded against the enemies of their house,
their senses and faculties.

16.13. The soul, then, is well hidden and protected in this dark water, for
it is close to God. Since the dark water serves God himself as a tabernacle
and dwelling place, it will serve the soul in this way and also as a
perfect safeguard and security, even though it causes darkness. In this
darkness the soul is hidden and protected from itself and the harm of
creatures." THE DARK NIGHT Part II chapter 16 St. John of the Cross
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative

the strength and vehemence of love has this trait

It is now in the death flow 5:01 PM Sunday early evening. I have had a normal day. I did not go anywhere. Carol got home from Covenant PCA around Noon. We ate lunch and I drifted through the day writing in my paper diary, reading my books and messing with our main computer.

In reading today THE DARK NIGHT by St. John of the Cross I found this section to be a blessing to me. I shared what is quoted below from THE DARK NIGHT with Carol this afternoon. What we read in the writings of St. John of the Cross has been written about by all Christian writers going back to the Desert Fathers up to the age of the 17th century English Puritans. All true Christians experience the same life of Christ, they just use different words to set forth that Christian way of life/walk with God.

"13.5. We ought to point out that the burning of love is not felt at the
beginning of this spiritual night because the fire of love has not begun to
catch. Nevertheless, God gives from the outset an esteeming love by which
he is held in such high favor that, as we said, the soul's greatest
suffering in the trials of this night is the anguish of thinking it has
lost God and been abandoned by him. We can always assert, then, that from
the commencement of this night the soul is touched with urgent longings of
love: of esteeming love, sometimes; at other times, also of burning love.

13.5.(2). The soul is aware that the greatest suffering it experiences in
these trials is this fear. If such persons could be assured that all is not
over and lost but that what they suffer is for the better -- as indeed it
is -- and that God is not angry with them, they would be unconcerned about
all these sufferings; rather, they would rejoice in the knowledge that God
is pleased with them. Their love of esteem for God is so intense, even
though obscure and imperceptible, that they would be happy not only to
suffer these things but even to die many times in order to please him. When
the fire now inflames the soul together with the esteem of God already
possessed, individuals usually acquire such strength, courage, and longings
relative to God, through the warmth of the love that is being communicated,
that with singular boldness they do strange things, in whatever way
necessary, in order to encounter him whom they love. Because of the
strength and inebriation of their love and desire, they perform these
actions without any consideration or concern.

13.6. Mary Magdalene, in spite of her past, paid no heed to the crowds of
people, prominent as well as unknown, at the banquet. She did not consider
the propriety of weeping and shedding tears in the presence of our Lord's
guests. Her only concern was to reach him for whom her soul was already
wounded and on fire, without any delay and without waiting for another more
appropriate time [Lk. 7:37-38].1 And such is the inebriation and courage of
love: Knowing that her Beloved was shut up in the tomb by a huge sealed
rock and surrounded by guards so the disciples could not steal his body,
she did not permit this to keep her from going out with ointments before
daybreak to anoint him [Mt. 27:64-66; Mk. 16:1-2; Jn. 20:1].

13.7. Finally, this inebriation and urgent longing of love prompted her to
ask the man she thought was the gardener if he had stolen him and, if he
had, to tell her where he had put him so she could take him away [Jn.
20:15]. She did not stop to realize that her question in the light of sound
judgment was foolish, for obviously if he had stolen the Lord he would not
have told her, and still less would he have allowed her to take him away.

13.7.(2). The strength and vehemence of love has this trait: Everything
seems possible to it, and it believes everyone is occupied as it is; it
does not believe anyone could be employed in any other way or seek anyone
other than him whom it seeks and loves; it believes there is nothing else
to desire or to occupy it and that everyone is engaged in seeking and
loving him. When the bride went searching for her Beloved in the plazas and
suburbs, she thought that others were doing the same and told them that if
they found him they should tell him she was suffering for love of him [Sg.
3:2; 5:8]. Mary's love was so ardent that she thought she would go and take
Jesus away, however great the impediments, if the gardener would tell where
he was hidden.

13.8. Such are the traits of these longings of love that the soul
experiences when it is advanced in this spiritual purgation. The wounded
soul rises up at night, in this purgative darkness, according to the
affections of the will; as the lioness or she-bear that goes in search of
her cubs when they are taken away and cannot be found [2 Sm. 17:8; Hos.
13:8], it anxiously and forcibly goes out in search of its God. Since it is
immersed in darkness, it feels his absence and feels that it is dying with
love of him. Such is impatient love, which one cannot long endure without
either receiving its object or dying. Rachel bore this love for children
when she said: Give me children, otherwise I shall die [Gn. 30:1].2" St. John of the Cross THE DARK NIGHT Book II Chapter 13

I told Carol every true Christian has an intense love for the Lord Jesus. Because a true Christian loves the Lord Jesus he or she wants to spend as much time as they can with Him in silence and solitude. A true Christian does not love the world, but loves the world to come/Heaven. A true Christian does not find delight in the things of this life. When a Christian looks at the world around him or her all they see is emptiness/vanity.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative