Mar 23, 2008

Mar 17, 2008

Mar 16, 2008


The spiritual journey as depicted in literature is often portrayed as progressive and teleological; a voyage of ascent. The oft neglected reality, however, is that not all spiritual journies are movements of advance; indeed, many are tragically regressive and find their destination in a place of darkness. Such is the case of Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night. Wiesel’s account is not simply about the perpetual night of Auschwitz, nor is it only about the darkness within humankind that enables us to carry out such horrific atrocities. Each of these interpretations of Night point to a larger theme in the narrative—the night of the soul, that is, an ultimate spiritual darkness experienced throughout—and ever since— the Holocaust. Wiesel recounts, then, his journey from spiritual fervor to, finally, to his journey without God. This is not a simple act of the author abandoning his faith, or even his God; it is rather a retelling of the time and place in which God was violently murdered in the company of 6 million Jews. While the readers are afforded the arduous opportunity to stand alongside Wiesel throughout his journey, we are also reminded that “We must not make [this] journey too quickly. We must linger with this starting point and not rush on to soon, seeking relief from its horror.[1]

Such is also true as we are on the eve of Holy Week, seduced by temptation to rush through the pain of Good Friday for the glory of Easter Sunday. As I was reading the book this week, I couldn't help but think of the opportunity for a significant spiritual experience for a person who would sit and read this book through on Good Friday. (do with this thought what you will.)

[1] Wiesel. 1986. Night., vi.

Mar 12, 2008