St. John of the Cross wrote about spiritual depression in his famed Dark Night of the Soul. He mentions that ‘consolations’ (warm spiritual experiences) are common among followers of Christ, but that God often removes them to train his followers to look for him and not for the consolations. In other words, spiritual experiences are a gift, but that it is the ability to follow God through doubt and suffering that a disciple is made. The fathers of the desert even warned that certain experiences came from the Evil One to keep the monk off track.
I am not experiencing a ‘dark night’ per se, but I find myself in the desert or dark when parish life becomes downright sad. Right now it is a bit sad because more than one of our beloved members are suffering. With Constantine, I am troubled. ‘Would that you would rend the heavens and come down, O Lord,’ so said the prophet Isaiah. So says I.