Thus St. Catherine of Siena, in the interval between her period of joyous illumination and her “spiritual marriage,” was tormented by visions of fiends, who filled her cell and “with obscene words and gestures invited her to lust.” She fled from her cell to the church to escape them, but they pursued her there: and she obtained no relief from this obsession until she ceased to oppose it. She cried, “I have chosen suffering for my consolation, and will gladly bear these and all other torments in the name of the Saviour, for as long as it shall please His Majesty.” With this act of surrender, the evil vision fled: Catherine swung back to a state of affirmation, and was comforted by a vision of the Cross.
– From the chapter on The Dark Night of the Soul in Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill
It seems that the dark night of the soul brings up remaining beliefs and identifications, including what can be called the shadow. For St. Catherine, a nun, it brought up lust.
I have chosen suffering for my consolation, and will gladly bear these and all other torments in the name of the Saviour, for as long as it shall please His Majesty.
This is a beautiful expression of a recognition of all as God’s will.
I am willing to experience this again. I am willing for it to last.
What happens when I say this? Can I feel it, find a genuine willingness?
It also helps me notice resistance thoughts. What do I fear would happen if I am willing to experience this again, for this to stay?
And it helps me to see what’s required for it to be true for me. In this case, to see and feel it all as God’s will, and even as God’s love, and God and reality as love.
If God/reality is love, why would this happen? If I ask myself this question and stay with it, can I find real, simple and specific examples of what happened as an expression of love? Why it was the best for me, others, and the world?
– (a) dark night of the soul, brings up remaining beliefs/identifications (shadow), in this case, lust
– (b) willing to experience this again, for it to last
– as an experiment, see what happens (do it for my self, for my own sake, here and now)
– see what’s left
– notice resistance thoughts, what do I fear would happen if I am willing to experience it again/for it to last?
– also see what’s required for that to be true for me (all as God’s will + God as love, reality as love)
– if reality/God is love/good, then why would this happen?
As much as St. Catherine initially probably resisted and had fears and beliefs about what was happening, she also recognized it all as God’s will, and coming from love.