St. John takes us on a journey into ourselves, a journey of knowledge and self understanding, that encompasses our failings and imperfections. It shows us how in a place beyond words we can embrace sadness and grief, and seeking God, our lives will be turned around. He describes the “arid and dark night of contemplation” which leads us to “the knowledge of oneself and of one’s misery.” True knowledge of our self and of our condition shows how far we must go to find God, who our restless hearts incessantly seek.
The Dark Night of the Soul describes how first the senses, and then the spirit undergo a series of purgation, which aids in bringing it closer to God, and eventually preparing it for union with Him. The individual soul seeks Jesus in a mystical marriage. For after the dark night, comes the joy of mystical union with God.
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 be 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.
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