Saintly Thoughts

Of Darkest Darkness

I am not sure whether or not it is fitting that one should contemplate darkness at this time of year, basking as we are in the afterglows of holiday cheer.  But given the condition of the physical world around us, this seems as good a time as any other.  I sometimes feel as though, looking out, all that one might see anymore is darkness, so quickly does the cloud-hidden sun dive behind the world's parallax in these deep days of winter.  How closely the falling of that sun seems to echo the signs of my soul's lack, which struggles ever more to uncover even a slight gleam of light midst the outer and inner darkness that has befallen it.  Yet, strangely, while this darkness borders the darkness of despair, it seems less a malevolent blackness than an emptiness which yearns to be filled.  One feels as though one is constantly falling back to the beginning, but with each fall one finds that that beginning is ever farther and deeper within the self.  With each fall the self takes longer to find itself.  Such a process may not be continued indefinitely (in a human life, at any rate) but this is frustrating because, one suspects, the process must continue thus if ever some truth is to be discovered.  And we thus do bang our head against the final door of our physical limitations, the utter emptiness that is the abyss of eternity perceived from a finite point in space and time.  The darkness is true, but it is hardly Truth.  One is reminded of C.S. Lewis, who once quipped (to paraphrase) that the man who sees through everything sees nothing.  I quite agree.  And yet, at what point may we safely enter back into finite truths, embracing the utter finiteness of our being while yet holding out the hope that lies beyond the infinite void?  Such is a difficult moment of decision, and ringed with spiritual and intellectual danger (for what methodology might reveal the true story at the very point where methodology has failed?).  I do not know, or I do not know fully, or am afraid of what I know, or I find the burden of what I think I know too heavy to bear.  One thing is certain (it was certain as I looked deep into the abyss before choosing to plunge in yet again); it is certain that the time has come (indeed, has long since past) when the lessons of the darkness are no longer fruitful (at least for now) and when the pilgrim must return to the world of time and take up anew the ecstatic burdens of life and living.  For if he waits too long, the world will pass him by and he will become lost in the darkness, perhaps never to return.  But surely the pilgrim might wish for some guide, some Virgil to lead him from this place?  For the pilgrim has been so long alone, has reveled in his solitude, but has utterly exhausted what solitude may (for a time) teach him.  So the pilgrim raises his lips and pleads with the gods, that they might send him a Virgil, a Cato, an Aristotle, or (dare he hope?) a Beatrice to aid him in his ascent.  Surely, the time for solitude is ended?