In this Good Friday episode of our "Life, Love, & Light" podcasts, we consider the dark "night of the soul" that every mystic must endure on the Path of Illumination. We relate this dark night to the passion of Jesus Christ. We reflect on the words of the beloved medieval mystic, Julian of Norwich, as she describes her visions of Christ's sufferings -- the most graphic account of the passion in all medieval literature. We hear Julian speak of Christ's "precious plenty of his dearworthy blood" that flows from his body and is "ready to wash all creatures of sin who are of good will, have been, and shall be." She describes the drying and the dying of his body as well as his intense "thirst." Julian reveals that Christ's pain became her pain as she suffered with him on the cross. And she understands that Christ took on the pain of all human beings who ever lived and that in his "failing" all creation failed "out of "sorrow for his pains."
At one point, the suffering that Julian sees is so excruciating that she is tempted to look away from the cross. She longs to fly up to heaven. But she realizes that only in the cross of Christ is there safety and salvation. She makes the courageous decision not to turn away from the dark night of the cross, but to endure it as long as necessary and to choose Jesus to be her heaven. Julian understands that the love of Christ for souls is so strong that he willfully chose his cross “with great desire, and patiently suffered it with great joy." This is an astounding insight that cuts through and completely transforms Julian’s personal pain at watching Christ suffer. She is convinced that any soul that is “touched by grace” to meditate on the cross shall see all pains “turned into everlasting joy by virtue of Christ’s passion.”
Julian’s Revelations on the passion give us clear insight into how we may endure our own darkest nights of soul (and body) on the mystical path. We may choose, like Julian, not to avoid or escape the suffering, however painful and long it may be, but to take it into our daily meditation practice and release the thoughts and emotions bound up with our suffering. We may wish to become more intimately united to Christ in his suffering as he is with ours. And we may pray never, ever to turn away and abandon him at the foot of his cross. Or our own.
PLEASE SHARE these podcasts with family and friends who may be enduring their own dark night of the soul, their own time of great trial, and who would be greatly reassured by Julian's Revelations. Many blessings of Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday to all!