The dark night favors the most intimate encounters with the Lord
In this issue of Northwest Catholic, our bishops begin their columns mentioning the moment of prayer in the evening. This led me to recall some of the great encounters with God throughout the history of salvation that took place during the night. Darkness, silence and solitude create the perfect setting for the most passionate, deep and intimate encounters with the Lord.
A passionate encounter with the Lord is the one of Jacob, who suddenly finds himself in the middle of a fierce combat with the Lord. Sometimes, he seems to prevail. At other times, he seems to be losing the fight. At some point he even suffers a painful femoral dislocation, but in the end, he manages to snatch from God his blessing and receives a new name, Israel, to become the father of the 12 tribes of the chosen people. (Genesis 32:23)
How many times, during the night, do we fight the fiercest combats, sometimes against ourselves, trying to find an answer, building courage or determination to make a difficult choice? How many times do we fight the Lord at night until we manage to snatch from him that special blessing we need so badly?
A deep encounter with the Lord is the one of King David. Moved by contrition for all his sins, he weeps until he soaks his pillow in tears. (Psalm 6:6) The same as Peter, who soaks his mantle in tears after feeling a deep shame when the tender eyes of Jesus pierce his own in the courtyard of the high priest’s house — at night as well — an instant after denying him not once, but three times. Peter goes outside and weeps bitterly. (Luke 22:62)
How many times do we soak our pillow in tears, afflicted by our sins, by our mistakes, by our failures, by our broken heart?
A contrasting, yet deep encounter as well, is the one of Judas when he realizes Jesus does know at the cenacle about his sinister plot. After receiving from his Master a piece of unleavened bread dipped in sauce, he leaves to complete his betrayal. The evangelist emphasizes that it was night. (John 13:25-30)
How many times do we hide ourselves in the darkness of the night to turn our backs to God, betraying our most sacred principles?
An intimate encounter with the Lord is the one of Abram, when God establishes with him a covenant, promising him an offspring as numerous as the number of stars sparkling through the dark heavens. (Genesis 15:5)
How many times, during our evening prayer, do we resolve to become God’s allies and decide to wake up and conquer the most amazing endeavors?
Jesus himself enjoyed withdrawing himself to be alone, climbing atop a hill at night, to pray. Without any doubt, the most passionate, deep, and intimate encounter with God during the night is the one Jesus has in the Mount of Olives. (Luke 22:39-46) An intense drama unfolds in which the Son of God, sweating blood, is about to quit his mission, even to the point of praying that such a chalice passes without him drinking from it. But in the end, he accepts his Father’s will.
How many times anxiety keeps us up at night, knowing that next day, we will face a given situation that will mercilessly harm us or will at least put us in jeopardy?
The constant in each of these stories is the presence of God in the middle of the night. God, making himself present and intimate with his children, establishing covenants, wiping tears, giving comfort, inspiring courage and reminding us that he is well aware of our betrayals.
Never go to bed without putting yourself in the Lord’s presence. Like Jesus at the Mount of Olives, surrender yourself to his divine will. May the Lord grant us a peaceful night and a holy death.
This is how this column, written during the night, comes to an end.
Be passionate about our faith!
Read the Spanish version of this column.
Northwest Catholic - May 2019