Dark Nights as Experience to Fall Back On

I was reading Prier pour vivre (Pray to Live) by Father René Voillaume, and these words struck me:

Without the intervention of the Holy Spirit, we cannot perfectly know Jesus by our own efforts at reflection, study, and meditation, even when our efforts are the work of great love. Do we really take seriously the exhortations and promises of the Lord in his farewell speech on Holy Thursday? Why don’t we believe more in the effective and real action of the Holy Spirit in the soul at the moment of prayer? We don’t believe enough! We don’t have enough audacity and we have a very poor hope!

I don’t disagree with this. What occurred to me is the following. If we really, left to ourselves, have such an immense difficulty in believing, first, that we are loved so much and, second, that the Spirit is so very active, then how will God correct us?

I don’t know if this is the right answer, but it does make a lot of sense to me: When all that we have is God and when our senses are dead, we live a dark night of the soul (as Saint John of the Cross called it). It’s then a choice: pull out; or be led by the hand, the heart, the head, and everything else. If we let God do the latter, then we know, we know from experience that the Holy Spirit, and the whole Holy Trinity, is active in our lives.

I’m not sure if, with our hard heads and general stupidity, we’d ever have the audacity to believe in just how active the Holy Spirit is and real the Holy Spirit’s actions are, unless God took us by the hand in a dark night and killed everything else  and gave us the grace to remember it.

Would we?


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