Season 3 Episode 4
We are in the Dark Forest. We entered through a disconnect between our worldly reasoning and that of St. Thérèse. Through the “Thérèsian affect” we understood without knowing. We turned our being toward her. We empathized. However, we did not know what constituted this “understanding,” “meaning,”and “being-toward.”
Now we are deeper in the Dark Forest, experiencing immense spiritual, emotional, and physical suffering as the result. The “unreflective certainty” at the moment of conversion endures, while in our old mindset - we collapse. The Dark Forest is scary, and we encounter this “enduring meaning” by directly facing our own temporal death.
There is a way out. It will require help from friends. We need to leave the Dark Forest reconstituted in order to join St. Joan of Arc on her mission to the Kingdom. Next episode!
Have you experienced the “Dark Forest”? Can you describe your experience?
This is the third of my four prose that began my journey on the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed with St. Joan and St. Thérèse. The first six stanzas open this episode. All four prose can be found in my first book, Journey to Christendom - The Freedom Dance.
The Dance of Suffering –“The Dark Night of Enlightenment” The Dance of Freedom had Crossed The Bridge of Reason But I was not prepared for What came next In fact, I am not sure how to Tell it My new saintly sister and my Friends Led me to the valley of necessity The Valley of Tears How can I begin? Except to tell you I have Never seen such courage The clouds grew dark And began to cover the Sunlight A storm was coming – and not Just any storm The wind began to pick up It was becoming harder to dance Though I pretended to Smile, I was afraid The sun began to set And a terrific and awful Feeling overpowered me I felt as if the sun would not Rise again… My saintly sister Therese was peaceful But somber She looked at me not with Dancing eyes But with suffering eyes Not sad eyes But powerful, courageous Suffering eyes I shook, for this was my Journey as well I braced myself for the Challenge The challenge of courage And nobility And honor And virtue Attributes, characteristics I had never known before in a Life of self-indulgence This would be like dying, in Fact this was dying Therese and her friends spoke With me as we Prepared to descend Because if I were to find my Purpose If I were to meet my destiny The Valley was the path In fact, it was the Apostolic Path of the Dogmatic Creed It was, she explained Uniquely the path of the Fathers, the Apostolic Fathers For others who wished to Reach our destination Tried other paths Paths that avoid the valley Paths that only seek Pleasure – and many fell lost It would be absolutely critical, she Added To stay on the path of the Creed For only orthodoxy and the Dogmatic path would be visible in The storm And so Down we went To the Valley of Darkness Therese and her friends held Their cloaks Tight As the gale force winds began To hit all around us They told me, to give me courage That on the other side of the Valley Were the King, the Queen and my Destiny As I began to stumble and Fall For the earth shook They held me up Therese yelled through the blasting Rain “Your strength and your power, that of Yourself are not your safety!” “Your safety is Fidelity, Faithfulness To the path – stay on it!” I could see nothing but the Path The Dogmatic Path of the Creed was all Around it was darkness I crawled and cut myself I was bleeding And cold, feeling near Death As the storm raged Therese explained to me The nature of the malady The reason for the Valley “In your dark forest” she began “You blasphemed the very Science and Reason That you sought to worship” “For by stretching the material beyond it’s Noble place” she came down to me “You attempted to make it a first Philosophy You defined all from that start And in the dark forest you fell!” “And in that dark forest” softly Spoke Therese “Of misguided first-philosophies Your evolution became involution Enlightenment became darkness!” “Now” Therese stared through me “You must be Created in the True First Philosophy” I felt my eyes close, in sleep or in Death, I could not be sure I woke suddenly The sun was shining, I was alive! My clothes were new, my body And spirit filled with enormous Strength My saintly sister Therese and My friends Were there smiling again They beckoned me to hurry, to Stop dragging my feet But I needed to turn and stare At the dark valley behind me The young warrior woman Appeared again and with Therese stood next to me “That path had been closed to all” Said the warrior, The Maid of Orleans “Until the One, the Logos, the Reason, Love itself Opened it for all by suffering through It, now we are free” I turned toward the light Distant, I saw a beautiful place, a Palace on our path hence I ran after my friends again, being Newly made, and heading to my Destiny next…
I am also the co-host of the Heroic Hearts podcast devoted to a spiritual adventure with St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux! Join us on the journey!