"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."

St Philip Neri

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"We must not be behind time in doing good; for death will not be behind his time. "

St Phillip Neri

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"To do God's will -- this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. "

St Alphonsus de Liguori

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 St John of the Cross   (1542 - 1591)


 

THE DARK NIGHT (cont)

 

by St John of the Cross

 

Book Two

 

Ch 24. [The concluding explanation of this second stanza.]


1. This is like saying: Since the superior portion of my soul is now, like the lower, at rest in its appetites and faculties, I went out to divine union with God through love.

2. Insofar as the soul is buffeted and purged through the war of the dark night in a twofold way (in the sensory and spiritual parts with their senses, faculties, and passions), she also attains a twofold peace and rest in the faculties and appetites of both the sensory and spiritual parts. Consequently the soul repeats this verse of the first stanza. The sensory and spiritual parts of the soul, in order to go out to the divine union of love, must first be reformed, put in order, and pacified, as was their condition in Adam's state of innocence. This verse, which in the first stanza refers to the quiet of the lower and sensory part, refers particularly in this second stanza to the superior and spiritual part, and consequently the soul has repeated it.

3. By means of the acts of substantial touches of divine union, the soul obtains habitually and perfectly (insofar as the condition of this life allows) the rest and quietude of her spiritual house. In concealment and hiding from the disturbance of both the devil and the senses and passions, she receives these touches from the divinity. By their means the soul is purified, quieted, strengthened, and made stable so she may receive permanently this divine union, which is the divine espousal between the soul and the Son of God.1

As soon as these two parts of the soul are wholly at rest and strengthened, together with all the members of the household, the faculties and appetites (also put to sleep and in silence regarding earthly and heavenly things), Divine Wisdom is united with the soul in a new bond of the possession of love. This union is wrought, as is asserted in the Book of Wisdom, Dum quietum silentium contineret omnia, et nox in suo cursu medium iter haberet, omnipotens sermo tuus, Domine, a regalibus sedibus prosilivit2 [Wis. 18:14-15]. The bride in the Song of Songs explains the same thing when she states that after she passed by those who took away her veil and wounded her, she found him whom her soul loved [Sg. 5:7; 3:4]. 4. One cannot reach this union without remarkable purity, and this purity is unattainable without vigorous mortification and nakedness regarding all creatures. "Taking off the bride's veil" and "wounding her at night," in her search and desire for her Spouse, signify this denudation and mortification, for she could not put on the new bridal veil without first removing her other one. Persons who refuse to go out at night in search for the Beloved and to divest and mortify their will, but rather seek the Beloved in their own bed and comfort, as did the bride [Sg. 3:1], will not succeed in finding him. As this soul declares, she found him when she departed in darkness and with longings of love.