I once had a secretary who could not be around popular music. Before she was a Christian she had spent a lot of time in unsavory places where the pop music played loud and long. It was the backdrop of her sensual sins. She explained that when she heard pop music she automatically found her sensual self rise within her and so she chose not to be around it. She had no problem with others enjoying the latest hits of the day, but, for her, they were off-limits. As I read chapter IV of Dark Night of the Soul by St John of the Cross, I was reminded of this precious woman in my life.
St John says that one of the ways beginning Christians fall into sin is through spiritual exercises that spawn sensual feelings. He warns that sometimes this occurs when someone is deep in prayer or even at the Eucharist. He says this connection between the spirit and the senses has three causes:
- Both the spirit and the flesh are found in one individual and the one naturally affects the other. When the spirit is pleased the pleasure is felt by the senses.
- The devil attacks most fiercely, and uses the flesh to accuse the worshiper mercilessly during acts of spiritual devotion. (I think of David’s wife’s disgust of his dancing before the Lord.)
- Christians who are frail and unsure of themselves gain bravado through association with those they deem to be spiritual to dissipate any fears they have that the spiritual motions they are involved in are impure.
I had an opportunity to talk to him about worship and how church can be a special time with Jesus. I talked to him about how he could talk with Jesus about things just he and Jesus knew and have a special quiet time together. Later in his college years when we were at the altar praying together he said to me, “Mom, you really like this stuff, don’t you? You ‘get off’ on this.” He was referring to our time of worship and prayer. I simply said, “Yes, I do.” and we continued to pray.
Back then I would have seen this as positive instruction to my son, but having read Dark Night I wonder. Could the pleasure I had in worship and prayer have been the best? Was it leading me to shed dross or just leading me to a “good time”? I am still kicking this around because the concept is new to me, but I am leaning closer to thinking it was more of a “good time” than a deep cleansing and seeking.
Today at Multitudes on Monday I want to thank Him for
#491 His extreme patience with me.
#492 His gifts of spiritual sisters and brothers that keep me reflecting.
#493 His Holy Spirit who signals danger.
#494 His promise to never give me more than I can handle.
#495 His strength for each moment.
#496 His cloud of witnesses behind, above, before and around me.
#497 His blood that never loses its power.
#498 His walk through the valley of the shadow of death so I know He can lead me through mine.
#499 His comfort for others as they comfort me and I, at the moment, can’t return the favor.
#500 the understanding of brothers and sisters in the Lord.
#501 the obedience of those whom God has appointed to help along the way. You are right there at the right time. Thank you!
#502 the perspective of time. Age does have its blessings.
Silver-haired and aging with His grace,