"Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise. "

Thomas á Kempis

* * *

"Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life eases the mind and a clean conscience inspires great trust in God."

Thomas á Kempis

* * *

"When the devil has failed in making a man fall, he puts forward all his energies to create distrust between the penitent and the confessor, and so by little and little he gains his end at last."

St Philip Neri

* * *

 

 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