Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Darkness of Spring

Now is the time when it seems like Lent will never end. It is the first day of spring, but with snow on the ground in central Pennsylvania, winter appears to be firmly entrenched. Spring and Easter seem to be far away, just like Heaven. The reality, however, is that Easter will here in a couple weeks, and amid the snow, the birds are singing. As for the Kingdom of Heaven, it is within us. Sometimes, the truths are unfelt, while the phantoms projected by the media, all the bad news, are what overwhelm the senses. The world is going through a dark night, the church is going through a dark night. Individuals are going through their own dark night. It is in the darkness, however, that we are united with God.

Here is the poem The Dark Night by Saint John of the Cross:

1. One dark night,
fired with love's urgent longings
- ah, the sheer grace! -
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.

2. In darkness, and secure,
by the secret ladder, disguised,
- ah, the sheer grace! -
in darkness and concealment,
my house being now all stilled.

3. On that glad night,
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything,
with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.

4. This guided me
more surely than the light of noon
to where he was awaiting me
- him I knew so well -
there in a place where no one appeared.

5. O guiding night!
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
the Lover with his beloved,
transforming the beloved in her Lover.

6. Upon my flowering breast
which I kept wholly for him alone,
there he lay sleeping,
and I caressing him
there in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

7. When the breeze blew from the turret,
as I parted his hair,
it wounded my neck
with its gentle hand,
suspending all my senses.

8. I abandoned and forgot myself,
laying my face on my Beloved;
all things ceased; I went out from myself,
leaving my cares
forgotten among the lilies.

From: THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD, and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD, revised edition (1991).

Copyright 1991 ICS Publications. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, if this copyright notice is included.



Ann Murray said...

Thank you, Elena Maria, for publishing this beautiful mystical poem in its entirety. The last verse reminds me of a quotation I came across in a Carmelite Newsletter: The surrender of the soul to God is the highest achievement of its freedom.(St. Teresa Benedicta)

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, Veritas, that quote sums it up!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Elena Maria. I have loved "The Dark Night" for a long time. Have you ever heard Loreena McKennitt's musical version of it?

elena maria vidal said...

No, I have not. It sounds wonderful!