The Dark Night
From "The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross," revised edition (1991).
Kavanaugh-Rodriguez translation.

  • An explanation of the stanzas describing a soul's conduct along the spiritual road that leads to the perfect union with God through love, insofar as it is attainable in this life

  • Stanzas Of The Soul 1

  • Beginning of the explanation of the stanzas that deal with the way a soul must conduct itself along the road leading to union with God through love, by Padre Fray John of the Cross

  • Before embarking on an explanation of these stanzas, we should remember that the soul recites them when it has already reached the state of perfection - that is, union with God through love - and has now passed through severe trials and conflicts by means of the spiritual exercise that leads one along the constricted way to eternal life, of which our Savior speaks in the Gospel [Mt

  • The soul must ordinarily walk this path to reach that sublime and joyous union with God

  • 7:14] - the soul's song in this first stanza is one of happiness in having advanced along it to this perfection of love

  • The soul, therefore, happy at having trod this narrow road from which it derived so much good, speaks in this manner: Copyright

    Dark Night of the Soul
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  • 'The Dark Night of the Soul', another explanation of the same verses, breaking off in the second book

  • His axiom is that the soul must empty itself of self in order to be filled with, that it must be purified of the last traces of earthly dross before it is fit to become united with

  • Supposing the soul with which he deals to be habitually in the state of grace and pushing forward to better things, he overtakes it on the very road leading it, in its opinion to, and lays open before its eyes a number of sores of which it was altogether ignorant, viz

  • Not until these are removed (a most formidable task) is it fit to be admitted to what he calls the 'Dark Night', which consists in the passive purgation, where by heavy trials, particularly interior ones, perfects and completes what the soul had begun of its own accord

  • The perfect purgation of the soul in the present life leaves it free to act with wonderful energy: in fact it might almost be said to obtain a share in, as is shown in the marvelous deeds of so many saints

  • As the soul emerges from the Dark Night it enters into the full noonlight described in the 'Spiritual Canticle' and the 'Living Flame of Love'


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    A degree of contemplation in which the soul experiences an extraordinary peace
    and rest.

  • As the name implies the prayer of quiet is that in which the soul experiences an extraordinary peace and rest, accompanied by delight or pleasure in contemplating as present

  • In this prayer gives to the soul an intellectual knowledge of His presence, and makes it feel that it is really in communication with Him, although He does this in a somewhat obscure manner

  • It is Himself who makes His presence felt in the inmost soul

  • According to Scaramelli the office of this gift, at least to a certain extent, is to render present to the soul and so much the more present as the gift is more abundant

  • Some authors say that this is not to be understood of the ordinary gift of wisdom which is necessarily connected with sanctifying grace and is possessed by every just man, but of wisdom as one of the charismata or extraordinary graces of the Holy Ghost, specially granted to privileged souls

  • It takes place when the soul has already arrived at the prayer of recollection and silence, or what some authors call the prayer of simplicity

  • The prayer of quiet does not entirely impede the exercise of the faculties of the soul

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  • These books include: Ascent of Mount Carmel Dark Night of the Soul and A Spiritual Canticle of the Soul and the Bridegroom Christ Since joy comes only from God, John believed that someone who seeks happiness in the world is like "a famished person who opens his mouth to satisfy himself with air." He taught that only by breaking the rope of our desires could we fly up to God

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