Sunday, July 31, 2016

Saturnine Saturday? or Dark Night of the Soul?

It’s “Saturnine Saturday” at my blog.  This week, Saturday was actually pretty good, but I’ve had plenty of Saturdays that weren’t, and I’ll bet you have, too.

Too many Saturnine Saturdays in a row, and you wonder if the run of lousy luck or the persistent sense of emptiness is ever going to end.   “Dark night of the soul, yeah, maybe I’m going through one of those.” You do your best to make it through until daybreak.

The sun finally comes up, but if you aren’t a different person when it does, if you haven’t changed to the point that your eyes open up to an altered world, then what you’ve been through is a rough patch--maybe one heck of a rough patch—but not a dark night of the soul. 

The dark night of the soul is a very, very good thing.

Centuries ago, someone wrote a book about it while he was locked up in a latrine by some evil monks for a long while. It wasn’t your typical retreat setting, but he learned a lot about love, not just love for God, but for everyone, in that little room.  The book begins with a poem, and here is the first stanza.
San Juan de la Cruz
La noche oscura
(Canciones del alma)
En una noche oscura
con ansias en amores inflamada,
(¡oh dichosa ventura!)
salĂ­ sin ser notada
estando ya mi case sosegada.
I have been reading the translation by Mirabai Starr, but since her work is copyrighted, I’ll do the best I can with Google Translate and internet dictionaries
Saint John of the Cross
The Dark Night
(Songs of the Soul)

On a dark night,
With yearning, in the flames of love,
(Oh, blissful opportunity!)
I slipped away unnoticed,
Since my house, now, is quiet.    
To put this into my own words, with the limited understanding I have so far about what 
John of the Cross is saying:
Someone beautiful, so beautiful, is hiding. So many obstacles stand between us. He hides, yet he waits.

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