Dark Night of the Soul A Masterpiece in the Literature of Mysticism by St. John of the Cross

ISBN-10: 0385029306

ISBN-13: 9780385029308

Edition: N/A

Authors: St. John of the Cross, E. Allison Peers

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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.
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Book details

List price: $14.00
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 1/11/1959
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 222
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.638
Language: English

St. John of the Cross represents the pinnacle of Spanish mysticism. In contrast to St. Teresa's works, which refer frequently to things of this world, St. John's poetry works on a purely spiritual, abstract plane. His poems consist of allegorical descriptions of the journey of his spirit through mortification of earthly appetites, illumination, and purification of the soul to union with God. In his prose commentaries on his own poems he laments the insufficiency of language to communicate his mystical experiences and his interior life. A disciple of St. Teresa, he became the spiritual director of her convent at Avila in 1572 and was responsible for carrying out many of her rigorous new programs for the Carmelite Order. Objections to his extreme reforms led to a period of imprisonment and torture in Toledo. During this time, according to tradition, he wrote Spiritual Canticle. His concentrated symbolic poetry has been studied with enthusiasm by such modern poets as T. S. Eliot, Paul Valery, and Jorge Guillen.

Translator's Preface to the First Edition
Translator's Preface to the Second Edition
Principal Abbreviations
Sets down the first line and begins to treat of the imperfections of beginners
Of certain spiritual imperfections which beginners have with respect to the habit of pride
Of some imperfections which some of these souls are apt to have, with respect to the second capital sin, which is avarice, in the spiritual sense
Of other imperfections which these beginners are apt to have with respect to the third sin, which is luxury
Of the imperfections into which beginners fall with respect to the sin of wrath
Of imperfections with respect to spiritual gluttony
Of imperfections with respect to spiritual envy and sloth
Wherein is expounded the first line of the first stanza, and a beginning is made of the explanation of this dark night
Of the signs by which it will be known that the spiritual person is walking along the way of this night and purgation of sense
Of the way in which these souls are to conduct themselves in this dark night
Wherein are expounded the three lines of the stanza
Of the benefits which this night causes in the soul
Of other benefits which this night of sense causes in the soul
Expounds this last verse of the first stanza
Which begins to treat of the dark night of the spirit and says at what time it begins
Describes other imperfections which belong to these proficients
Annotation for that which follows
Sets down the first stanza and the exposition thereof
Sets down the first line and begins to explain how this dark contemplation is not only night for the soul but is also grief and purgation
Of other kinds of pain that the soul suffers in this night
Continues the same matter and considers other afflictions and constraints of the will
Of other pains which afflict the soul in this state
How, although this night brings darkness to the spirit, it does so in order to illumine it and give it light
Explains this purgation fully by a comparison
Begins to explain the second line of the first stanza. Describes how, as the fruit of these rigorous constraints, the soul finds itself with the vehement passion of Divine love
Shows how this horrible night is purgatory, and how in it the Divine wisdom illumines men on earth with the same illumination that purges and illumines the angels in Heaven
Of other delectable effects which are wrought in the soul by this dark night of contemplation
Wherein are set down and explained the last three lines of the first stanza
Sets down the second stanza and its exposition
Explains how, though in darkness, the soul walks securely
Explains how this dark contemplation is secret
Explains how this secret wisdom is likewise a ladder
Begins to explain the ten steps of the mystic ladder of Divine love, according to Saint Bernard and Saint Thomas. The first five are here treated
Wherein are treated the other five steps of love
Which explains this word 'disguised,' and describes the colours of the disguise of the soul in this night
Explains the third line of the second stanza
Expounds the fourth line and describes the wondrous hiding-place wherein the soul is set during this night. Shows how, although the devil has an entrance into other places that are very high, he has none into this
Completes the explanation of the second stanza
Wherein is expounded the third stanza
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