Hope in the Darkness: Weekly Summary

Hope in the Darkness

Summary: Sunday, September 3-Friday, September 8, 2017

Patience comes from our attempts to hold together an always-mixed reality. Perfectionism only makes us resentful and judgmental. (Sunday)

It is only by a foundational trust in the midst of suffering, some ability to bear darkness and uncertainty, and learning to be comfortable with paradox and mystery, that you move from the first half of life to the second half. (Monday)

Regardless of the cause, the dark night is an opportunity to look for and find God—in different forms and ways than we’ve become accustomed. (Tuesday)

Through darkness and doubt often come the greatest creativity and faith. Our faith is strengthened every time we go through a period of questioning. (Wednesday)

God has to work in the soul in secret and in darkness, because if we fully knew what was happening, and what it will eventually ask of us, we would either try to take charge or stop the whole process. —Gerald May (Thursday)

“The Dark Night of the Soul is not only about being brought to our knees. It is about unconditional love.” —Mirabai Starr (Friday)

 

Practice: Psalm and Song

One of CAC’s staff members, Brie Stoner, composed and sang this beautiful chant based on Psalm 139 for our recent CONSPIRE conference. [1] Click here to listen (and sing along!) as you read the psalmist’s words:

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

As you read the last portion of the psalm, which is quite violent and dualistic, recognize how these sentiments may be true for you. Is there a part of yourself, hidden in shadows, that wishes vengeance upon others? Let the light of God’s inclusive, compassionate love shine on this darkness within.

If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. [2]

Gateway to Silence:
The night shines like the day.

References:
[1] Gabrielle Stoner, “Darkness and Light (Psalm 139).”
[2] Psalm 139:1-24, New International Version (Zondervan).

For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life (Jossey-Bass: 2011)
Richard Rohr with John Feister, Hope Against Darkness: The Transforming Vision of Saint Francis in an Age of Anxiety (St. Anthony Messenger Press: 2001)

Numbers only; no punctuation

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