Through dark night and ascent St. John of the Cross describes the journey to union with God as one needs be traveled through privation.
It’s a word we know little of in western culture. Privation, that is. In a sense, it’s simply “the loss or absence of a quality normally present.” For St. John, this “loss and absence” referred to one’s needs for sustenance, of which I’m confident consisted of much less substance than that of my own home.
The bigot of ask-me sheds much light on this privation in a recent post. Her words are meaningful for a number of different topics, but all are owned by a single significant event; an intentional pursuit of loss and absence. She writes:
See, I had been a good little Christian girl for years- I was steeped in meaningful ministry, had three healthy children, a smoking-hot man, an affordable brick craftsman on a historic part, two exotic Taiwanese cats- but I didn’t know God’s voice. I only gave Him small, safe offerings. I was busy enjoying the good things in life. But I didn’t have the best thing.
So God asked me to give up everything- except the man, the kids, and the cats. For those seven months I was alone.
The dark night and ascent St. John speaks of are seen well in this bigot’s memoir, but isn’t this also the message Jesus shared with the rich young ruler? Did he not say rid yourself of what keeps you from me?
The dark passenger of ascent does not imply there is evil in possessions. Quite the contrary, he speaks with the preacher, “enjoy and rejoice in the gift of God.” He pursues, “for we are not treating here the lack of things, since this implies no detachment on the part of the soul if it has a desire for them.”
It is the desire that must dissever, for those who have been named His children can have only one; Him alone. The bigot finds resolve for her loneliness and blessed union is formed…
So Jesus became my friend. In a way that He had never before. He tutored me on how to sit at His feet, to listen, and to cast all my cares on Him. I consumed His word and rolled the psalms over and over in my mind. I began to hear Him speak. And I was sustained. I finally had the best thing.
The article, Sacrifice and Friendship can be found here at Ask The Bigot. The author addresses there some pretty tough topics, so put on your big boy pants before the venture. I assure though you will find Christ-saturated handlings of those tough topics.