Dark Night of the Soul

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

Psalm 37:1-18 (Morning)
Psalm 37:19-42 (Evening)
Amos 9:1-10
Rev. 2:8-17
Matt. 23:13-26
 


Dark Night of the Soul

Psalm 37 promises safe pasture to those who love God and who do good. We are asked to trust that God will break the power of the wicked. We are told that even though the wicked seem to thrive as they “plot against the righteous,” and “draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy,” and “borrow and do not repay,” the wicked will “be consumed and go up in smoke.”

In today’s world, there is ample evidence of the power of the wicked. The news is full of stories about those in power who propose laws that enrich the wealthy and leave the poor to struggle on their own; who act immorally and laugh about it; and who lie with impunity. I find myself having empathy for the people of David’s time who must have been asking, as I often do, “how can they get away with this?” It is easy to feel despair if we don’t see God’s hand in what is unfolding.

The saint we remember today offers us a deep perspective on despair. Juan de la Cruz – St. John of the Cross – was one of the most beloved poets of Spain. His writings continue over the centuries to bring solace in the “Dark Night of the Soul.” Perhaps we are experiencing a collective Dark Night of the Soul. It helps to remember that Juan de la Cruz teaches us that this despair is a purging of the old self on the way to a closer union with God. I am comforted by today’s scripture because it reminds me to trust that God’s plan is that good always wins out over evil and that we are ever closer to Him.
 


Written by Judi Neal

Judi Neal is the founding director of the Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace at the University of Arkansas (retired). She focused her career on workplace spirituality, but now is enjoying retirement, which includes more involvement at St. Paul’s, music with Ellis Ralph, and writing.

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