The Dark Night of the Soul
Publisher: TAN Books
Publication Date: 2010-04-01
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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.
St. John of the Cross was a major figure of the Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, a Roman Catholic saint, a Carmelite friar and a priest who was born at Fontiveros, Old Castile. John of the Cross is known for his writings. Both his poetry and his studies on the growth of the soul are considered the summit of mystical Spanish literature and one of the peaks of all Spanish literature. He was canonized as a saint in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. He is one of the thirty-six Doctors of the Church.
How could I give this anything but five stars? This is an irreplaceable book in the Western tradition on the spiritual life. Every priest and spiritual director ought to study it carefully.
I do not, however, think that everyone should read this book. Everyone serious about the personal prayer life should learn the basic principles in some way. But those who have not had good catechesis, or are too young, or who struggle with a lot of anxiety, or are dealing with scrupulosity, should postpone reading this book directly until a later time. I read it meeting all of these conditions and the result was nothing short of disastrous. However, now I find the principles indispensable, even though I don't feel ready to read it all anytime soon.
If you want to learn the principles of this book, but do not think you are ready to read St. John of the Cross, you might consider Upon this Mountain: Prayer in the Carmelite Tradition by Mary McCormack, OCD. (I wish Tumblar House carried this title.) She takes the basic principles of Dark Night and translates it for the "average" person, in a much more gentle manner, and through the lens of St. Therese.