Humour and the Dark Night of the Soul


Sabbath moments are a way of taking time to rest in God, to enjoy God in silence or in nature. The word sabbath comes from a Hebrew word meaning “cease.” And that is what we need to do sometimes, cease our activity and live in the moment and breathe in God. Joining with Colleen at Thoughts on Grace
While on a journey to visit one of her convents,  a donkey threw St. Theresa of Avila  into a stream of freezing cold water.  Standing in her water-logged, heavy habit, she yelled at God,
“If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!”
The spiritual journey is intense and hard but if we keep a sense of humour,  don’t take ourselves too seriously and stop meddling in God’s business, the journey becomes much easier.  A friend of Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk, once asked him if  it was possible to tell if a  another person had truly undergone inner transformation.
“It is very difficult to tell but usually it is accompanied by a wonderful sense of humour.”

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I am excited to be part of God’s work on Earth. Discovering that it is possible to become Christ’s presence was an epiphany for my husband and I about 25 years ago.  The resurrected life  is not just for a few saints.  Every normal Christian should  shout with St. Paul,
“No longer I that lives but Christ that lives in me.”

If this journey is so exciting, why do so many Christians suffer from anxiety or depression?

Well, there is the fact that we most often turn to God to radically heal our lives when we are desperate to change. Usually we have exhausted all other avenues because, let’s face it, who wants to die to our false little selves that we have taken so long to build?  In addition, the process of transformation is unsettling. God must shake us out of our old habits, melt rigid mindsets and  shine light into our inner, secret, dark closets. Dying to our old selves  is hard on our entire system including  emotions, bodies, mind and spirit. No wonder the spiritual journey is often called the Dark Night of the Soul and the Dark Night of the Spirit. ( St. John of the Cross).images (3)
Humour, the ability to laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously, puts the whole process of inner transformation into perspective. If I am self-centered instead of God centered, everything becomes intense and dramatic. When I take my eyes off myself my faith, my religious practices,  my spiritual ‘progress’, and look at my Saviour, everything comes back into the proper perspective. This inner healing is God’s work.   Christ calls all of us to surrender, trust and receive;  receive  the Light of God, surrender my inner darkness and trust in the power of Christ’s  Love to redeem me. Period.
The whole process of inner transformation is His work, not mine. I am simply a child of God, gazing into His face and looking only to Christ to save me. I wait in joyful expectation and watch His work unfold within me.  Oh yes and laugh at myself.

13 thoughts on “Humour and the Dark Night of the Soul

  1. Love this. I have always loved that quote of St Teresa. She had a great sense of humor. Have you read Fr James Martins book on humor? Between Heaven and Mirth. God bless!

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  2. Melanie, you pick the greatest pictures to illustrate your posts. I always enjoy looking at them along with your writing.

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    1. ah- so glad that someone else connects with them.

      I am very visual, images feed my inner self. Ioften express myself in symbolic pictures . Tha’s why I use so many pics, stick them in the side column, collect them on pages and have suddenly disconered Catholic Pinterest sites

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  3. This is the best post I’ve read here and that is saying a lot! The laughter comes from lightness of heart when our anxieties and burdens have been surrendered away. The joy of the Lord is our strength!

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