How would a Charismatic/Pentecostal cope with the Dark Night of the Soul?


I pray that God would not let them suffer such a thing if their mind and soul are unprepared, but what happens when someone whose understanding of their faith is so heavily grounded in emotional experience finds themselves in a seemingly endless period of spiritual dryness, as many of us experience in our lives?


Im not sure if there are any on these forums.
You might want to ask that on another forum.:thumbsup:


I knew a Pentecostal guy who claimed that his family was experiencing the Dark Night of the Soul (yes, he specifically named the work of St. John of the Cross as an accurate description of what had been going on), but he really just meant that they were going through some tough times–for which he was almost entirely to blame as far as I can tell. His wife may very well have gone through the Dark Night (she’s certainly spiritually mature enough that one can imagine she might have), but to hear her talk I don’t think so. She’s had a lot of horrible stuff in her life, but she doesn’t seem to have ever been bereft of the sense of God’s presence through it all.

In all fairness, the real Dark Night would not be completely unexpected to Pentecostals. Precisely because experience is so important to them, the more spiritually mature Pentecostals are aware of the dangers of relying on it. And as the example I cited above shows, Pentecostals often love St. John of the Cross even if they misuse him!



Fair brother or sister in Christ, might I ask if said person would be you? Are you finding that despite your emotional experiences, you’re still feeling empty?

I have no idea if you’re referring to yourself, it’s just a hunch. :wink: I’d presume that all of us have a desert period at some point or another–I can only imagine it would be much harder for someone from a heavy emotionally-reliant spiritual practice (like a charismatic/pentecostal).

That’s why I’ve come to love the Catholic faith so much. It is so much more grounded than any other protestant church I’ve been a part of (including a pentecostal bent in my background, too!), grounded very much in logic rather than emotion. I find that even if Jesus seems far away, it’s not He Who moved, it’s me. :o Therefore, I still attend Mass, pray the Rosary, just “immerse” myself in the ocean of Christ and know that by mere obedience there never need be a “dark night” for me.

Hope some of that made sense. :smiley:


I understand where the OP is coming from with this question. When I was in the Assemblies of God no one could/would admit to having dryness in prayer. If we did we accused ourselves of slipping away from our faith! :eek:

Just a sidenote: The Dark Night of the Soul isn’t about spiritual dryness but about abandoning oneself to the Lover of our souls. There’s nothing in the poem about spiritual dryness at all. :wink:

A better example of such experiences is the Song of Songs. A comparison of the two poems will quickly show what I mean. :slight_smile:


I think it all comes down to spiritual maturity, not what label a person wears. Even within the labelled groups there are shade and degrees of beliefs and practices.

In any case, I’m inclined to believe that the “Dark Night” is experienced by those who are ready to receive it unless you mean the book rather than the journey.


what a terrible straw man argument!
do you know many Charismatics?


My experience with Catholic Charismatic Renewal began with a contemplative Carmelite priest. He had the gift of giving spiritual direction to Catholics in the renewal. His forte was giving conferences on the spiritual direction of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, and leading us to use the Liturgy of the Hours daily.

Where there is such a spiritual guide for CCR, the prayer life of the participants flourishes. To suggest that there would be difficulty for this to happen is to not understand the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Since I regard the renewal as a “jump start” into a deeper life of prayer (with proper spiritual direction) it follows that those who start taking prayer more seriously will eventually seek out the direction of the Doctors of the Church on prayer.

The purpose of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is not to leave the participants in the “jump-start” phase of their spirituality, but to bring them into closer and closer union with Christ, which comes about by not being attached to a “Mount Tabor” experience, but by freely following the Lord to Calvary.


Speaking as one :bigyikes: and also as a Thomist :confused: who is on his way to becoming a Catholic :stuck_out_tongue: :

The biggest problem I see is not the “emotional” issue, which most believers recognize as being pretty superficial. Most Pentecostals / Charismatics, after all, do know enough not to be led by their feelings to determine their spiritual level. The biggest problem is actually doctrinal–that is, many P / Cs in many P / C churches are taught explicitly that God is basically there to take care of every need, desire, or even discomfort. So there might be a sort of spiritual “cognitive dissonance” when one discovers that this might not actually be the case–and that discomfort and “dryness” might even promote more growth than sustained blessing could do.


I am not sure you really understand what St. John of the Cross was getting at. The Dark Night is a positive experience. It is the crashing of the intellect in order to allow the spirit to come forth. The Dark Night is only experienced by the intellect, not the whole person. You might want to read my post:
Father Don


I think that we all go through Dark Night of the** Senses** many times.
This happens to remove the bottom line focus that we have on oneselves .
Each time this happens we will find ourselves kneeling at the Foot of the Cross.
A stripping away of our false security.
Understanding the meaning of the Cross more deeply.
This will happen many many times until we are ready to turn our wills totally over to God… past the intellect and the feelings.
Further along when one understands more deeply what it means **to be totally dependent upon God **one may be lead into a Dark Night of the Soul.
Loss of God.
Or at least what appears to be a loss of God.
The lights are out.
No meaning.
**Nothingnessland. **
Stripped of self and God.
Not many of us need to worry about ever landing there :slight_smile: .
Only the great saints lived in this land.
It is here that they learned deep faith, deep love for God for Gods sake and true humility.
God bestows more and more faith into the hearts of those who totally
in Him and sincerely give over their
to Him.
The Saints learned in their deepest heart that without Him they could do absolutely nothing while living in nothingnessland.
They remained faithful to what God has asked all of us to be and to do even **without **great thoughts or wonderful feelings
They allowed themselves to be **emptied **of **self. **
The Cross was no longer looked **at **but lived in this land.
God was silent but they carried on trying to do His will.
And God blessed them and entered into deep relationships with them **because **they gave their all out of their nothingingness.
Love could now be expressed to God and to others through the intellect or through the feelings for both had been purified.
Dark Night of the Senses
Dark Night of the Soul are separate.
Yet they are the same.
They are both to Transform us into other Christs.
Thinking and **Feeling **are silver.
Learning to Love is where you find the Gold.
**Go for Gold :slight_smile: **


Charasmatics dont run on emotions only, they are quite picky on scripture and what it says. The words one uses should be carefully weighed. I cant remember what else. My good friend left a charsmatic church because she couldnt agree with their ideas on use of words. that you could speak dammation on yourself or something like that, Its been awhile.

I was suprised to find out just how many rules they have, Especially when they try to hard not to have rules like catholics. My friend did the bulletin in the church and they didnt even want advent candles on the thing in December cause it was too catholic.

Im not saying this to stirr up feelings just remember they complain about things too catholic and then go about a ton of rules themselves. Thus she left. They eventually shrunk and closed down. See God cleans house regularly.:wink:


Della, you might be defining ‘spiritual dryness’ in a different way than John of the Cross, for, indeed, the Night is about spiritual dryness.

This is one of any number of quotes from St John’s very own explanation of his poem: Dark Night, Chapter 11, paragraph 2:

*"Then instead of this love which is enkindled afterward, they harbor, **in the midst of the dryness and emptiness **of their faculties, a habitual care and solicitude for God accompanied by grief or fear about not serving him. It is a sacrifice most pleasing to God—that of **a spirit in distress *and solicitude for his love."

St John is explaining just three lines from the first stanza!


Father Don, the dark Night is not of the intellect only, but essentially of the senses and spirit.

Please reference “The Dark Night, Book One, Chapter 8, paragraph one” :

*“This night, which as we say is contemplation, causes two kinds of darkness or purgation in spiritual persons according to the two parts of the soul, the sensory and the spiritual. Hence one night of purgation is sensory, by which **the senses are purged **and accommodated to the spirit; and the other night or purgation is spiritual, by which **the spirit is purged *and denuded as well as accommodated and prepared for union whth God through love.”


I think the question is : How would a Charismatic/Pentecostal cope with the Dark Night of the Soul?

The answers here are wide ranging.

It is really not up to the Pentecostal or Charismatic or Catholic Charismatic or Catholic Non-Charismatic to provide a way to cope. They can not even decide if they want to experience the Dark Night. If they experience the Dark Night of the Soul it is for their purification and THAT is up to God. If He desires something He also has the means for getting the result. He alone knows what He is doing. He alone receives the exact measure of what he has measured out. All that anyone can do is stand back and See His Work. St. John of The Cross explains this most clearly. It is not theory. It is a work of Grace. I have quoted the NAB from Hebrews 2. This is, along with other passages, in the Old and New Testaments… is a testament to God’s working in the lives of men, His provision and His careful consideration of our low estate.

16 Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham;
17 therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people.
18 Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

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