The Via Positiva is a spirituality of pleasure and delight in creation, of falling in love with life. It is the way we see most clearly in the wonder and discovery of young children, stretching their imaginations and intellect, exulting in their bodies, sharpening their senses, leaping to meet all the possibilities of life and growth.

But just as we come to birth and wholeness and light, so we also come inevitably to death and brokenness and darkness, to the crack. And we walk the Via Negativa, the negative way. We walk through the valley of the shadow of death, This is the way of letting pain be pain, of letting silence be silence, of letting nothingness be nothingness. Where there was gain, not these is loss, where there was fullness, now there is emptiness, where there was height, now there are the depths. ‘Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.’ Many of the psalms are the voice of this walking the Via Negativa. It is the way of embracing the shadow, of acknowledging our brokenness, our faultline, our sin, the wrong choices we made and their consequences.

It is stupid to deny the pain of the crack. It is the pain of bereavement, of failure, of humiliation, of rejection. It is often the pain of doubt, of despair, of fear. But at the bottom of the crack, in the deepest darkness, a strange thing happens. We discover, slowly and painfully, that the bottom, which felt endless, is there. Eventually we stop falling. We actually discover that it is holding us up or, like a dark sea we have fallen into, we are floating, and it is carrying us along. We suddenly find that there is the tiniest patch of solid ground under our feet. We take a tentative step-and the ground bears our weight. We begin to be able to see in the darkness-and our other senses sharpen. We hear more acutely. We begin to understand things we previously had not. In a curious way, we know the truth of words someone once said to me, ‘sometimes, the darkest times are the richest’.

Struggles to Love  The Spirituality of Beatitudes By Kathy Galloway (page 117-118)

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