The Dark Night of the Soul Or: Why A Failing Lent Really Isn’t


An honest, no-frills Lenten voyage:
Burying of the Alleluia.

Dwelling in Scripture in addition to well chosen literature during the season. For the reading is not just reading. It is Jesus.

Illuminating the twelve votive candles for our Friday evening Stations of the Cross devotion.
Living simply. Trying to, anyway.

Then there’s the giving up. Following through on this…. makes me want to, well, give up. Which makes me wonder: Who I am following?

Which I’d say, is the point.

My family has long term, anticipatory plans on Shrove Tuesday. Don’t we all begin, of course, with The Ash Wednesday Clean Slate?

Now, though? Husband and kids are doing well. They’ll continue to do well. I know they will. Mostly I stray. And mostly, I am proud of the loves of my life who subscribe to the “real-men-do” philosophy: Real men do say the rosary. Real men do depened on scripture and fasting and repentance.

Like entering the desert of our souls. Like walking with Jesus into the dark, unrelenting wilderness for forty days. Like becoming aware of our ragged spirits and begging mercy for the dark night of our souls.

Is Lent about forming and renewing? Or forfeiting? Is one more important than the other? And what does it say about me that I just can’t stick with what I planned to renounce?

Possibly that I need to empty the soul more to know the filling of God? And possibly, that a failing Lent really isn’t — once I come to this realization?

My almost tweleve year old offhandedly commented on Ash Wednesday that he s-h-o-u-l-d give up his habit of complaining. “But,” he claims, “Giving up sweets is just so much easier, you know?”

Hmmmmm. After little more than a decade here in this life, he already gets that. Forgoing treats is just plain simpler than addressing the struggle with the internal. With ridding one’s self of the difficult day – to – day struggle with the devil. Coming face to ugly face, with sin.

Does the emptying of the soul, the cleansing through the grace of confession, come only when we know how empty we truly are?

Jesus is doing everything. He is the one going to Calvary. And it seems that the least I can do is know the hole of my sin. Because isn’t knowing our sin and receiving absolution of our sin knowing our God more? Doing His work more?

I want that; that’s my goal.

That greatest gift.

Copyright 2012 Christine Mooney


About Author

Christine Mooney loves her life as a homeschooling Mom! Chris resides in NY with her lively, lovable boys, who continuously color her life. Her essays are included in Bezalel Books’ Stories for a Homeschool Heart and Joseph Karl’s God Moments 2 as well as “Mater et Magistra” magazine. Please stop in and visit her for a bit at her blog, Campfires and Cleats .


Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.