"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."

St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good."

St Philip Neri

* * *

"It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and not to make provision for things to come."

Thomas á Kempis

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 St John of the Cross   (1542 - 1591)


 

THE DARK NIGHT (cont)

 

by St John of the Cross

 

Book Two

 

Ch 25. [A brief explanation of the third stanza.]


Third Stanza

On that glad night,
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything,
with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.

Explanation

1. Still using the metaphor and simile of temporal night to describe this spiritual night, the soul enumerates and extols the good properties of the night. She found and made use of these properties by means of this night and thereby obtained her desired goal securely and quickly. We will list three of these properties here.

2. The first is that in this glad contemplative night, God conducts her by so solitary and secret a contemplation, one so remote and alien to all the senses, that nothing pertinent to the senses, nor any touch of creature, can reach or detain her on the route leading to the union of love.

3. The second property of this night, mentioned in this stanza, has as its cause the spiritual darkness of this night, in which all the faculties of the higher part of the soul are in obscurity. In neither looking nor being able to look at anything, the soul is not detained in her journey to God by anything outside of him, for in her advance she is free of hindrance from the forms and figures of the natural apprehensions, which are those that usually prevent her from being always united with the being of God.

4. The third property is that, although the soul in her progress does not have the support of any particular interior light of the intellect, or of any exterior guide that may give her satisfaction on this lofty path - since these dense darknesses have deprived her of all satisfaction - love alone, which at this period burns by soliciting the heart for the Beloved, is what guides and moves her, and makes her soar to God in an unknown way along the road of solitude. The next verse is:

On that glad night,

 

The End