Association of Catholic Publishers 2012 Excellence in Publishing Awards:
God in the Dark takes second place in “Prayer and Spirituality” category
“Eros is one of God’s names.” The late Dorothee Soelle wrote these words in “Mysticism and Resistance,” and Christian writers are increasingly meeting God under this strange and ancient name. A growing number of books address either our longing for God or our grief when suffering comes and God seems far away. What is lacking is work that shows the relationship between our longing and our grief. “God in the Dark” portrays suffering and desire as the two faces of passion, and passion itself as the essential energizing force of the spiritual life.
Western Christianity in the twenty-first century urgently needs to know both sides of passion. The religious routines, partisan squabbling and mundane daily upkeep of the institutional church often obscure the passionate love at the heart of the gospel. Overburdened by the demands of our lives, we settle for an hour of peace each week over intimacy with the living God, and what began as a love affair cools into a banal religious complacency. “God in the Dark” invites readers to reconsider the God whom the Bible describes as both “love” (I John 4:8) and a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).
There is also an acute need among spiritual seekers for a better understanding of suffering, especially spiritual suffering. Many people were shocked to learn through her letters that Mother Teresa had spent much of her life in a state of spiritual darkness. The struggle to reconcile this with her reputation for holiness reveals that the role of darkness and suffering in the spiritual life is not widely understood. “God in the Dark” invites readers to reinterpret the dark nights of their lives, to learn that darkness is not necessarily a place of failure and abandonment, but can be a place of intimacy and growth. When we learn that God does some of his best work in the dark, we will be drawn there by our desire, and when the night closes in around us, we will welcome its embrace.
Author of The Art of Dying and Living
Dean emeritus of Grace Cathedral
Founder, and Spiritual Father
The Brothers and Sisters of Charity at Little Portion Hermitage