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Dark Night of the Soul
by St. John of the Cross
by St. John of the Cross
In Dark Night of the Soul, Saint John of the Cross presents for us a portrait painted from his own experience of one who advances successfully through the struggles of the spiritual life. The dark night that St John describes is not abandonment by God but special consideration from Him for those who desire to purify and perfect their souls. With a soul purified from earthly attachments, we can advance through the much-quoted but oft-misunderstood dark night of the souls into unity with God. By accepting the desolation and difficulty of this process, the soul cooperates with God and opens itself to receiving and revealing more perfectly God's glory. Be not afraid- Dark Night of the Soul, though austere and exacting in its instructions for holy living, is laced with St John's charity and kindness, his love of all things beautiful and sacred- including you.
About the Author:
Born in 1542 in what is now Spain, St John of the Cross entered the Carmelites in 1563 and received Holy Orders four years later. Soon after they met, St Teresa of Avila enlisted him in her efforts to purify the Carmelite Order. When the strict observances of St John's Discalced (literally shoeless ) Carmelites sparked widespread reform, some disgruntled monks captured, imprisoned, and tortured him. During those nine months and beyond, St John of the Cross endured a dark night of the soul. This and other contemplative experiences inspired his mystical theology and thereby earned him the title Doctor of the Church.
Item No: TC2212 (Grouped)
Publisher: Saint Benedict Press, LLC
Imprint: TAN Books
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 5.5" X 8.5" X 0.63"
Excerpts from this Book:
"Others, again, seeing their own imperfections, become angry with themselves with an impatience that is not humble. They are so impatient with their shortcomings as if they would be saints in one day. Many of these make many grand resolutions, but, being self-confident and not humble, the more they resolve, the more they fall, and the angrier they become; not having the patience to wait for God’s time; this is also opposed to spiritual meekness. There is no perfect remedy for this but in the dark night. There are, however, some people who are so patient, and who advance so slowly in their spiritual progress, that God wishes they were not so patient."
— St. John of the Cross, p. 24
"Some beginners, too, make light of their faults, and at other times indulge in immoderate grief when they commit them. They thought themselves already saints, and so they become angry and impatient with themselves, which is another great imperfection. They also importune God to deliver them from their faults and imperfections, but it is only for the comfort of living in peace, unmolested by them, and not for God; they do not consider that, were He to deliver them, they would become, perhaps, prouder than ever."
— St. John of the Cross, p. 9
"There is another reason also why the soul has traveled safely in this obscurity; it has suffered: for the way of suffering is safer, and also more profitable, than that of rejoicing and of action. In suffering God gives strength, but in action and in joy the soul does but show its own weakness and imperfections. And in suffering, the soul practices and acquires virtue, and becomes pure, wiser, and more cautious."
— St. John of the Cross, p. 149
"Many beginners, delighting in the sweetness and joy of their spiritual occupations, strive after spiritual sweetness rather than after purity and discretion, which is that which God regards and accepts in the whole course of the spiritual way. For this reason, over and above their imperfection in seeking after sweetness in devotion, that spirit of gluttony, which has taken possession of them, forces them to overstep the limits of moderation, within which virtue is acquired and consists. . . Inasmuch then as all extremes are vicious, and as in this course of conduct men follow their own will, the consequences are that they grow in the vice and not in virtue; at least they minister to their spiritual gluttony and pride, for they do not walk in the way of obedience."
— St. John of the Cross, p. 26
"The freshness of living hope in God fills the soul with such energy and resolution, with such aspirations after the things of eternal life, that all this world seems to it—as indeed it is—in comparison with that which it hopes for, dry, withered, dead, and worthless. The soul now denudes itself of the garments and trappings of the world, by setting the heart upon nothing that is in it, and hoping for nothing that is, or maybe, in it, living only in the hope of everlasting life. And, therefore, when the heart is thus lifted up above the world, the world cannot touch it or lay hold of it, nor even see it. The soul then, thus disguised and clad in the vesture of hope, is secure from its second foe, the world, for St. Paul calls hope the helmet of salvation. Now a helmet is an armor which protects and covers the whole head and has no opening except in one place, where the eyes may look through. Hope is such a helmet, for it covers all the senses of the head of the soul in such a way that they cannot be lost in worldly things, and leaves no part of them exposed to the arrows of the world." — St. John of the Cross, p.175
"The soul, however, cannot be perfectly purified from these imperfections, any more than from the others, until God shall have led it into the passive purgation of the dark night, of which I shall speak immediately. But it is expedient that the soul, so far as it can, should labor, on its own part, to purify and perfect itself, that it may merit from God to be taken under His divine care, and be healed from those imperfections which of itself it cannot remedy. For, after all the efforts of the soul, it cannot by any exertions of its own actively purify itself so as to be in the slightest degree fit for the divine union of perfection in the love of God, if God Himself does not take it into His own hands and purify it in the fire, dark to the soul."