Crooked Finger (crookedfingers) wrote,
Crooked Finger

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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

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