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Dark Night of Pandemic

Approx. read time: 1:55 min.

This post will appear in the March issue of Dimension Connections, the monthly e-newsletter of Theresians International.

All the commentary seems to agree: Post-pandemic life will never return to normal. For now, we sleepwalk our way through a long dark night.

Honestly, the old “normal” seemed more like normalized insanity, society’s cruel mission drift on a global scale. We can do better. We know it.

Pandemic is Not the Dark Night

How shall we describe this time we’re in? It’s a tumble into the void. Living without a net, without a map. Without assurances.

It’s living in the stinking yet beautiful poverty of spirit which Jesus knew well and urged us to embrace.

We live inside the Dark Night of Paschal Mystery. Not spiritually removed from the anguish of our times, but spiritually present in the midst of it. Our many forms of dying precede our many forms of receiving new life. It all comes as surprise, as Mystery, the very core of our faith.

Brother Pandemic is not the problem.

Brother Pandemic is the invitation we didn’t know we were asking for, considering that we humans have ignored all earlier invitations to be what we always were meant to be: the living image of GOD, the real and living presence of the Risen Christ in our times—baptized or not, knowing Christ or not.

The dark night is not a uniquely Christian experience. It’s a human experience, the lot of humankind.

We are better than what we’ve been, yet we act as though we are clueless. In Crossing the Unknown Sea, poet David Whyte notes that “we are the one part of creation that can refuse to be itself.”

Brother Pandemic is not the darkness. The unnamable Mystery is the beckoning darkness and our personal and collective invitation into the Land of Not Knowing But Living Anyway.

The Spirit of the risen Christ has not left us! With the Spirit we ply the waters in this long moonless night.

The Invitation

This long season of pandemic reveals our society’s engineered inequities and glaring injustices which intensify human and creational suffering.

And so you and I are invited right now to what is new—not of our planning but of God’s desiring.

Early church did not gather at Pentecost because now everything was clear. Nothing was clear!

But early church had the good sense to yearn for God in the dark night and hold open a space for the Spirit of the risen Lord to rekindle the Fire, shed Light, and show the Way.

We have work to do. Which might be better named no-work, other than leaning in together, with all our heart, into these spaces of not knowing, to discern the invitations, be astonished, and rise up to act.

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