Jan 23, repetition of Oct 2 “Holy Dark”

In The Spiritual Exercises  St. Ignatius teaches various methods of prayer.  One of the most important he calls “Repetition.” (“Attention should be paid to some more important places in which I have found understanding, consolation, or desolation.” Sp Ex # 118).   The principle: “I know more from my experiences than I think;  go back and savor and be surprised.”   For some reason this morning I went back to the workday posts from the beginning of October and found this one about longer nights and shorter days.

Here it is again, posted with no changes from its Oct 2 original form.  Good for the deep darkness of January.

Have a good day.

john sj

From: john staudenmaier sj <staudejm@udmercy.edu>
Subject: a work day as days get shorter
Date: October 2, 2013 7:07:56 AM EDT
To: “employees@listserver.udmercy.edu” <employees@listserver.udmercy.edu>

Hard times —  a Congress locked in venom and contempt for those with whom one must negotiate,  “partisan” is a common adjective for elected officials at the national level;   Detroit city caught in uncertainties about bankruptcy that stir mistrust and fear for the future;   UDM negotiating a McNichols faculty contract turned acrimonious and hurtful.

This morning reminded me that I like getting up while it is dark outside.  It helps me recognize a balance of light and dark.  The descent of the sun toward December solstice doesn’t just cheer me up because autumn colors start to replace the dreadful pollens of ragweed season (asthma).  Early dark opens awarenesses that hustling along in the light I sometimes miss.   I once got in a fight at MIT when I gave a talk about the West’s coupling the emergence of Western scientific methods with a devaluing of Europe’s mystical disciplines.  A friend, Leo Marx got upset with that talk and some other MIT-Harvard types got angry and insulting that I would  call the dark “holy” and celebrate mystery and mysticism at MIT.   But it was Leo who introduced me to this piece with which the published paper now ends.

Have a good day.

john st sj


A poem for days of diminishing light

Here come the stars to character the skies,
And they in the estimation of the wise
Are more divine than any bulb or arc,
Because their purpose is to flash and spark,
But not to take away the precious dark.
We need the interruption of the night
To ease attention off when overtight,
To break our logic in too long a flight,
And ask us if our premises are right.

Robert Frost “The Literate Farmers and the Planet Venus”

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1 Response to Jan 23, repetition of Oct 2 “Holy Dark”

  1. Pingback: jan 22 – “but not to take away the precious dark” | Poetry Blog: "A Work Day in Hard Times"

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