It was a comment on that entry that first brought to my attention the phrase, "dark night of the soul," described by the commenter as "a time in the lives of saints where they don't "feel" the consolations of the faith. It is considered a trial and not an actual lack of faith. It forces the soul to rely upon the rational basis of the faith and not mere feelings and emotions which are fleeting and often deceptive." (We'll just leave aside the irony inherent in the use of the word 'rational' in that sentence for today.) In the next day's National Post newspaper, religious columnist Father Raymond J. DeSouza expanded on the idea in his article, "Mother Teresa's darkness."
It is a form of agonizing spiritual purification, in which the soul draws very close to God. Yet God is infinite, and infinitely beyond our finite senses, so He appears as nothingness -- hence the nada, nada, nada refrain of St. John of the Cross. It is not that God is nothing, but rather that infinity appears that way to the souls who see deepest. It is something like a powerful telescope; the greater its range, the more empty the heavens appear to be. It is only to those stuck on Earth that the skies seemed crowded with stars.This is, of course, spin doctoring of the highest order. It is the "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" mantra of the woo-woo community pushed to its most extreme. The fact that one cannot feel the presence of God, the theologians would have us believe, is proof that one has approached him more closely than the average person. Absence of evidence, they tell us, is, in fact, evidence of presence. And they say it with a straight face.
I am in awe of their fortitude in the face of such silly rhetoric. Reading Father DeSouza's column, I find myself giggling upon discovering such statements as, "To be sure, she knew [the absence of God] as only those closest to God know it," and flat out guffawing over, "[n]ow we have discovered that her realism was borne of daily contact with God as He really is..." Um, absent?
I wish to point out to Reverend DeSouza the point at which his argument completely fell apart for me. It was his use of the analogy of a large telescope looking at the sky. That analogy reveals that Father DeSouza, like so many of his colleagues, has willfully kept himself blind to the realities of our universe, and the science that reveals them, in order to protect his God Delusion.
Ray (can I call you Ray?), when you train a powerful telescope on a small section of sky that, to the naked eye, appears devoid of stars, do you know what you see? You see more stars. And if you choose a small section of that small section, and zoom in again, do you know what you see?Uh huh, more stars. And you can perform the same exercise over and over again with the same result. Eventually, what you begin seeing are not individual stars, but crowded fields of galaxies, composed of billions of stars each. And when you zoom in on those, even more galaxies are revealed beyond them.
This, Ray...Raymond...Father DeSouza, is the true nature of infinity. And it's far, far larger than any God you can imagine.