The Dark Night (3)
By Velma Ruch of Lamoni, IA, USA
I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men will see visions and your old men shall dream dreams. And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit and they shall prophesy. -Acts 2:17-18 IV
We can learn much from Jesus’ disciples about the spiritual journey from death to resurrection. The disciples went from a certain spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity in the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost. For us this transformation to a new relationship with God tends to take longer and may come at different stages in our lives. For the disciples it was at Pentecost they received the Holy Spirit that Christ had promised them at the time of the Ascension. Even after the Resurrection, Mark writes, the disciples were filled with fear. “Terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone for they were afraid” (Mark 16:8). Even though Christ appeared to them several times, they were still called to a new relationship with this friend they had left all to follow. They couldn’t quite understand what it was all about.
At one point we see Peter and six others sitting in a room and wondering, what do we do now? In frustration and weariness Peter said, “I am going fishing.” The others decided to join him. The fishing was a failure. They caught nothing. The next morning, bedraggled and disappointed, they saw a man who called to them from the shore and said, “Throw your nets on the other side of the boat.” They did and the catch was beyond belief. John recognized the man as the Lord. Peter hurriedly threw some clothes on and swam to the shore. The others followed. They had breakfast together and some amazing conversations about the future, but they still didn’t quite know what was going on.
At the time of the Ascension, Jesus had promised them that though he was going to the Father, they were to wait to receive the Holy Spirit that would be his presence among them. The next ten days were days of further waiting and planning. When the day of Pentecost came, they were sitting together in a room waiting, when suddenly they were blessed with the Spirit in tongues of fire. Peter was empowered to remind the people assembled of the promise once made to Joel about how the Spirit would work among them.
Peter reminded the people that, through the death and resurrection of Christ, the Spirit once promised to them had come. Before this time, the disciples had known the Gethsemane pain of the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Now they experienced the power of the Resurrection, and they immediately set about fulfilling the mission to which they were called.
(Excerpted from “The Dark Night of the Soul: A Personal Account” by Velma Ruch)
Spirit, now live in me.
Breathe deeply and enter a few minutes of silence. Be attentive to where you sense new life emerging in you. Search your memories of the previous day. When did you notice the sacredness of life in surprising places or forms in the world around you?
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