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.
This edition has been re-typeset using the text of the 1916 edition originally published by Thomas Baker, London under the Imprimatur of Edm. Canon Surmont, Vicar General, Westminster, 26th March 1916.