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.
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 Disclaced (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.