When I look at myself in the mirror at times I do not like the person I see. I see myself as one who is fat, kind of simple, tired, and distracted. I know what dwells under the surface of my reflection. Things I, like others, try to hide, but are always present in that reflection. There is pain, woundedness, sadness, burdens, guilts, regrets, and past mistakes, forgiven, but not forgotten that whisper through the mirror feeding a darkness that has taken root in my heart. I am not even a priest for a year. Yet, I have heard enough confessions to know I am not alone in this struggle with the reflection that resists in the mirror and the darkness that resides in the heart.
The darkness needs healing, that is why our God, the Divine Physician, enters and takes us through, what the Carmelite tradition calls the Dark Night of the Soul. A term coined by St. John of the Cross.
The darkness goes to the depths of our soul, a place that it seems only God can go for it is in that place where God fashions His home. It is in the depths of our heart, where the roots of our darkness find they nourishment in our pain that God alone begins the process of healing. God pulls up those roots and embraces our pain. God’s process of healing is beyond us, yet so intimate to us that the only way St. John of the Cross could write about it was to transform the word of darkness itself. Through God’s healing presence the darkness is transformed. It is no longer a darkness that begins the night, but has become the darkness that awaits the dawn. Through the darkness before the dawn, hope has now found its place in the heart once again.
The process of healing, the Dark Night, is not easy. I know, as my morning reflection waits for me, it likes to remind me of darkness that resists God’s healing presence. Although, sometimes, in that morning reflection, it is not my eyes that look upon me, but the eyes of another. His eyes are in that reflection, and they see someone loved, beautiful, and precious. Those eyes see and reveal to me, a being who is held in a tender loving embrace, simply because of who I am. Those eyes remind me that I am a child of the Father, and there is a Truth within me waiting to be known by me. Finally, those eyes leave me with the sense that it is with their gaze that someday I will truly see as I am meant to see. It is through His eyes that the gift of love finds its place in my heart, and thanks to His love, I know that someday the darkness will be no more.
Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. ~~ 1st John 3:2