Noche Oscura means The Dark Night. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross both wrote about the dark night of the soul. In common parlance it has come to mean a bad time, a dry time or a hopeless time, often a time when God is distant or we can’t feel God.
But theologian Richard Rohr describes “the dark night” in a different way and he suggests that what St. Teresa and St. John really meant is that the dark night of the soul is actually a necessary time. Not, in the “life is suffering” sense that Scott Peck writes about but as a necessary time because the dark night of the soul is when God is actually deeply close. These are the times that God may be deeply inside us and doing spiritual surgery.
In Steps Six and Seven we ask to be healed, we ask to be relieved, and we say to God, “I am willing and I have tried and if it’s ever gonna change now it’s up to you”. And then we often ache. We say that surrender is painful, but through the lens of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross maybe we can recognize this as the kind of pain that comes with surgery.
I have been taking care of a friend who had surgery, and I can see the healing pain. “Get out of that bed and walk” is the first thing the nurses say. They kept saying, “You have to ambulate: Get up and walk.”
Maybe like Jesus said when he healed people who were struggling or who needed healing, “Take up your bed and walk.” That too is part of the dark night of our souls.