Dark Nights

One term that was recently brought to our awareness this past year is what psychologists call, “languishing.” According to an article in the New York Times, languishing is “a sense of stagnation and emptiness.” There is a feeling of aimlessness, monotony, and indifference to what one does because everything tomorrow brings will just be the same anyway.

In our spiritual lives, this same description can also describe periods of spiritual dryness. Have you ever felt bored when you pray, or maybe you just go through the motions of doing your devotions to get it over and done with so you could do something else? I admit I have. We are not alone. Many saints, like St. John of the Cross and St. Ignatius of Loyola, have even described times when they felt so empty that it was as if God has abandoned them. Yet, the saints would also tell us that these feelings of desolation are phases we go through in the spiritual life and that we need to persevere. St. Teresa of Calcutta even wrote that she suffered through it for most of her life.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus told His disciples that in “a little while” they will no longer see him, after that they will see him. They will grieve, but after that comes joy. They felt this aimlessness when Jesus was taken from them, and they rejoiced when they saw Him again after His resurrection. In the same way, we too need to hold fast to Jesus and persevere when we feel like we are languishing. He is the source of our hope, and the reason for our joy today, and for the days that are yet to come.

By: Sem. Richard Anthony Lim

Today’s Gospel

Jn 16:16-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“A little while and you will no longer see me,
and again a little while later and you will see me.”
So some of his disciples said to one another,
“What does this mean that he is saying to us,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me,’
and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”
So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks?
We do not know what he means.”
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them,
“Are you discussing with one another what I said,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me’?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

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