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In HIS Shadow
B Joan Whetzel
The Lord is our truest source of Light. He enlightens us by means of His Word, His wisdom (passed on by His prophets and ministers), His inner promptings, and the life lessons He provides us. He gives us His light so that we may search out the meaning of our life here on Earth.
However, there may be times when we come into what St. John of the Cross calls the "Dark Night of the Soul." We don't need to be afraid of these times. We are not alone. We are in His presence during these dark nights. It is the Lord calling us to Him, to sit in silence, to listen to the whisperings in our hearts, and to wait. His voice comes to us in these whisperings like the song of a lark. Just when we feel most imprisoned by our failings, and the failings we perceive in others, His Word sets us free
Yet even in the darkness, there is not complete night because "a person at the time of these darkness's…will see clearly." In the darkness, He provides stars of wisdom for us to gaze upon and to contemplate. He guides us through the darkness with His moonlight as a beacon of hope.
The problems of life seem somehow less stark in this magical light. The light that He provides for us with His stars and moon seem brighter than the sunlight at noon. It is never utterly dark on those "dark nights" as long as we wait on him in silence, in patience.
In His silent whisperings he gives us soul saving insights into the wrong behaviors and attitudes we have been carrying around for far too long. He also sends along the wisdom and courage to clean house, to rid ourselves of the things that are holding us back, and preventing us from being our very best.
St. John of the Cross talks about "how little the appetites and faculties are distracted with useless and harmful things" while we are in these darkness's. Perhaps it is not really darkness we are encountering. Perhaps it is that we are in the Lord's Shadow while He is fighting off the glaring enticements of the evil one on our behalf. In a sense, we are resting in His shadow, protected by His Shadow so that we may do the necessary internal housecleaning. Since the Lord is battling the evil one for us, the evil one does not have the free time to disturb us, or to invite himself in for a little chat so that he might talk us into ridding our pack rat nature of the remaining past behaviors and sins that we so desperately need to dispose of.
As Christians, we are called on to pray for the grace to be poor in spirit. Not so that we will be poor, but so that we will remember how dependant we are on Him. Living in His Shadow this way, we allow Him to do some of the dirty work on our behalf, so that we may do our part of the dirty work; that of clearing away the junk that we no longer need. We are then in a position to make better use of the gifts he provides us, and we the have room to put them proudly on display.