(The Dark Night, book I: chapter 8)
"Brothers, I could not talk to you as
spiritual people, but as fleshly people,
as infants in Christ. I fed you milk, not
solid food, because you were unable to take
it. Indeed, you are still not able, even
now, for you are still of the flesh. While
there is jealousy and rivalry among you,
are you not of the flesh, and behaving in
an ordinary human way?" (12)
At first, the infant is held near,
Nourished at her Mother's warm breast;
Held securely, she's freed of fear,
Cuddled, consoled -- she finds deep
In time, her Mother sets her down,
Preparing her for her first foods;
Upset, unsure, with fussing frown,
She pushes back and swings her moods.
The spoon of mush is bitterness;
The nourishment's hard to swallow.
Her stomach groans of emptiness;
Contentment's changed to fear and woe.
So is the soul in the first night:
Prayer loses sweet consolation;
All is bitter -- nothing tastes right;
Cuddles change to desolation.
Her Mother's milk will not sustain
Her past first steps in this terrain..
May the parental love of our Lord provide
the grace we need to be sustained through
the uncertainties and anxieties of the night
of the senses.
12. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3
(c) Paul Buis, 2004