Have you ever felt like you were dwelling in a dark cloud? I think most of us get there at some point or another in our lives. The dark cloud might be confusion: where is God taking me? What am I supposed to do with my life? Or it might be frustration: why is this happening to me? Why can’t I ever have a moment’s happiness or peace? The dark cloud could be fear: what is happening to me? Will this illness be curable or have I come to the end of my life? The dark cloud is sometimes sadness, or loneliness, or despair. Whatever the dark cloud looks like, we all get to pass through it at some time or another in our lives.
The good news that we have from today’s Liturgy of the Word is that God is in the dark cloud too. Certainly St. Paul Miki experienced God in the darkness as he was martyred by crucifixion along with 25 of his companions. God’s presence as he hung on the cross next to fellow religious, lay people, catechists, and even children, allowed him to preach in his final moments: “The sentence of judgment says these men came to Japan from the Philippines, but I did not come from any other country. I am a true Japanese. The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I certainly did teach the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason I die. I believe that I am telling only the truth before I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again: Ask Christ to help you to become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ’s example I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain.”
So today, if you’re in the dark cloud, know that God is there with you. Thrashing around wildly in the cloud trying to find him isn’t real productive. But being still within it, listening for God’s voice, waiting for his presence in stillness, he will come to you. For those outside the cloud this morning, our prayer is with our brothers and sisters who are in it, that they may know that God is there with them, in the dark cloud, helping them to learn what is beneficial to the soul, waiting for them to come to the true light.