When the soul realises that Christ, in his extreme humiliation and annihilation on the cross, achieved the greatest result, the reconciliation and union of mankind with God, there awakens in her the understanding that for her, also, annihilation, the “living death by crucifixion of all that is sensory as well as spiritual”, leads to union with God. Just as Jesus in the extreme abandonment at his death surrendered himself into the hands of the invisible and incomprehensible God, so will the soul yield herself to the midnight darkness of faith which is the only way to the incomprehensible God.
THE MYSTICAL “RAY OF DARKNESS”
Then she will be granted mystical contemplation, the “ray of darkness”, the mysterious wisdom of God, the dark and general knowledge that alone corresponds to the unfathomable God who blinds the understanding and appears to it as darkness. It floods the soul and does this all the more easily the more the soul is free from all other impressions.
TRUE BEGINNING OF ETERNAL LIFE IN US
This wisdom is something much purer, more tender, spiritual, and interior than all that is familiar to the intellect from the natural life of the spirit. Also raised above temporality, it is a true beginning of eternal life in us. It is not a mere acceptance of the message of faith that has been heard, nor a mere turning of oneself to God, who is known only from hearsay; rather it is an interior BEING TOUCHED and an EXPERIENCE of God that has the power to detach the soul from all created things, and to raise her, simultaneously plunging her into a love that does not know its object. We will not attempt to determine here whether this dark, loving knowledge, in which the soul is touched in her innermost depth by God – from “mouth to mouth”, from substance to substance – can still be reckoned as faith.
KNOWLEDGE RATHER THAN MERE FAITH
This dark, loving knowledge is the surrender of the soul through the will (as her mouth) to the loving approach of the still-concealed God: love, which is not feeling, but rather a readiness for action and sacrifice, an insertion of one’s own will into the divine will in order to be led by it alone.
– St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)