In her book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, Barbara Brown Taylor includes a chapter on "The Dark Night of the Soul" and the reflections of St. John of the Cross and his doctrine of Nada. Taylor puts St. John's ideas of the pursuit of God in the context of wrestling. Spiritual growth involves wrestling with our faith, and in my opinion, Lenten practices involve wrestling with our attachments. There are habits we desperately want to hang on to that get in the way of depending on God.
The story of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32 is a pivotal one in the life of Israel. Some sort of transition happened from God to Jacob as Israel was born. And while Jacob dominated the wrestling match with what seems like his own insecurities, as well as God incarnate, he did not get away unscathed. Dominating in that match came at a cost.
As we wrestle in our own matches with God and our faith, may we prevail despite the cost and pass through our own "Dark Nights," living into new realities in our relationship with God.
Rev. Dr. Jennifer Bales
Director of Communications
Presbytery of San Jose