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Dark Night of the Soul

Dark Night of the Soul

Product no.: 0-385-02930-6
The method followed by the soul in its journey upon the spiritual road to the attainment of the perfect union of love with God, to the extent that is possible in this life.

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Publisher's Synopsis

St. John of the Cross has been called "the most sublime of all Spanish mystics," and his spiritual masterwork, Dark Night of the Soul, stands as one of the greatest contributions to the literature of mysticism.


"When we study his treatises—principally that great composite work known as the Ascent of Mount Carmel and the Dark Night—we have the impression of a mastermind that has scaled the heights of mystical science; and from their summit looks down upon and dominates the plain below and the paths leading upward..."        ~E. Allison Peers

"THE soul which God is about to lead onward is not led by His Majesty into this night of the spirit as soon as it goes forth from the aridities and trials of the first purgation and night of sense; rather it is wont to pass a long time, even years, after leaving the state of beginners, in exercising itself in that of proficients. In this latter state it is like to one that has come forth from a rigorous imprisonment; it goes about the things of God with much greater freedom and satisfaction of the soul, and with more abundant and inward delight than it did at the beginning before it entered the said night.

For its imagination and faculties are no longer bound, as they were before, by meditation and anxiety of spirit, since it now very readily finds in its spirit the most serene and loving contemplation and spiritual sweetness without the labour of meditation; although, as the purgation of the soul is not complete (for the principal part thereof, which is that of the spirit, is wanting, without which, owing to the communication that exists between the one part and the other, since the subject is one only, the purgation of sense, however violent it may have been, is not yet complete and perfect), it is never without certain occasional necessities, aridities, darknesses and perils which are sometimes much more intense than those of the past, for they are as tokens and heralds of the coming night of the spirit, and are not of as long duration as will be the night which is to come."

Of the Dark Night of the Spirit.


St. John was a Roman Catholic monk who lived from 1542-1591. He wrote his famous book in Spanish (this particular translation is by E. Allison Peers, published by Image Books in 1990). He set out, during the time of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, to explain the life of the mystic and the mystical way.

Classical mysticism is composed of three parts: purgation, in which the senses and spirit are purged of all desires; illumination, in which God supernaturally floods the soul with His love while the individual remains passive; and union, in which the soul is united with God in perfection.

Such an individual will be able to skip purgatory since purgatory’s work has been completed in this life (pp. 107-108, 174). To this pursuit the medieval monks and hermits devoted their lives.

Editor Peers, E. Allison
Author St. John of the Cross
Translator Peers, E. Allison
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 193 pp.
Publisher Image Books 1990
Gold Medal

Gold Medal


  Gold Medal Essential Reading

Browse these categories as well: Mystic and Esoteric Christianity, Christian Classics: Ancient and Modern, The Church: Doctors, Saints and Mystics, Spiritual Biography and Autobiography, Masterworks of the Western Mystery Tradition, Metaphysics, Mysticism and Initiation, Gold Medal Essential Reading

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