Page 5 of 5

Re: Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:02 pm
by admin
Chapter 21

Which explains the word 'disguised,' and describes the colours of the disguise of the soul in this night.

Now that we have explained the reasons why the soul called this contemplation a 'secret ladder,' it remains for us to explain likewise the word 'disguised,' and the reason why the soul says also that it went forth by this 'secret ladder' in 'disguise.'

For the understanding of this it must be known that to disguise oneself is naught else but to hide and cover oneself beneath another garb and figure than one's own -- sometimes in order to show forth, under that garb or figure, the will and purpose which is in the heart to gain the grace and will of one who is greatly loved; sometimes, again, to hide oneself from one's rivals and thus to accomplish one's object better. At such times a man assumes the garments and livery which best represent and indicate the affection of his heart and which best conceal him from his rivals.

The soul, then, touched with the love of Christ the Spouse, and longing to attain to His grace and gain His goodwill, goes forth here disguised with that disguise which most vividly represents the affections of its spirit and which will protect it most securely on its journey from its adversaries and enemies, which are the devil, the world and the flesh. Thus the livery which it wears is of three chief colours -- white, green and purple -- denoting the three theological virtues, faith, hope and charity. By these the soul will not only gain the grace and goodwill of its Beloved, but it will travel in security and complete protection from its three enemies: for faith is an inward tunic of a whiteness so pure that it completely dazzles the eyes of the understanding. [265] And thus, when the soul journeys in its vestment of faith, the devil can neither see it nor succeed in harming it, since it is well protected by faith -- more so than by all the other virtues -- against the devil, who is at once the strongest and the most cunning of enemies.

It is clear that Saint Peter could find no better protection than faith to save him from the devil, when he said: Cui resistite fortes in fide. [266] And in order to gain the grace of the Beloved, and union with Him, the soul cannot put on a better vest and tunic, [267] to serve as a foundation and beginning of the other vestments of the virtues, than this white garment [268] of faith, for without it, as the Apostle says, it is impossible to please God, and with it, it is impossible to fail to please Him. For He Himself says through a prophet: Sponsabo te mihi in fide. [269] Which is as much as to say: If thou desirest, O soul, to be united and betrothed to Me, thou must come inwardly clad in faith.

This white garment of faith was worn by the soul on its going forth from this dark night, when, walking in interior constraint and darkness, as we have said before, it received no aid, in the form of light, from its understanding, neither from above, since Heaven seemed to be closed to it and God hidden from it, nor from below, since those that taught it satisfied it not. It suffered with constancy and persevered, passing through those trials without fainting or failing the Beloved, Who in trials and tribulations proves the faith of His Bride, so that afterwards she may truly repeat this saying of David, namely: 'By the words of Thy lips I kept hard ways.' [270]

Next, over this white tunic of faith the soul now puts on the second colour, which is a green vestment. By this, as we said, is signified the virtue of hope, wherewith, as in the first case, the soul is delivered and protected from the second enemy. which is the world. For this green colour of living hope in God gives the soul such ardour and courage and aspiration to the things of eternal life that, by comparison with what it hopes for therein, all things of the world seem to it to be, as in truth they are, dry and faded and dead and nothing worth. The soul now divests and strips itself of all these worldly vestments and garments, setting its heart upon naught that is in the world and hoping for naught, whether of that which is or of that which is to be, but living clad only in the hope of eternal life. Wherefore, when the heart is thus lifted up above the world, not only can the world neither touch the heart nor lay hold on it, but it cannot even come within sight of it.

And thus, in this green livery and disguise, the soul journeys in complete security from this second enemy, which is the world. For Saint Paul speaks of hope as the helmet of salvation [271] -- that is, a piece of armour that protects the whole head, and covers it so that there remains uncovered only a visor through which it may look. And hope has this property, that it covers all the senses of the head of the soul, so that there is naught soever pertaining to the world in which they can be immersed, nor is there an opening through which any arrow of the world can wound them. It has a visor, however, which the soul is permitted to use so that its eyes may look upward. but nowhere else; for this is the function which hope habitually performs in the soul, namely, the directing of its eyes upwards to look at God alone, even as David declared that his eyes were directed, when he said: Oculi mei semper ad Dominum. [272] He hoped for no good thing elsewhere, save as he himself says in another Psalm: 'Even as the eyes of the handmaid are set upon the hands of her mistress, even so are our eyes set upon our Lord God, until He have mercy upon us as we hope in Him.' [273]

For this reason, because of this green livery (since the soul is ever looking to God and sets its eyes on naught else, neither is pleased with aught save with Him alone), the Beloved has such great pleasure with the soul that it is true to say that the soul obtains from Him as much as it hopes for from Him. Wherefore the Spouse in the Songs tells the Bride that, by looking upon Him with one eye alone, she has wounded His heart. [274] Without this green livery of hope in God alone it would be impossible for the soul to go forth to encompass this loving achievement, for it would have no success, since that which moves and conquers is the importunity of hope.

With this livery of hope the soul journeys in disguise through this secret and dark night whereof we have spoken; for it is so completely voided of every possession and support that it fixes its eyes and its care upon naught but God, putting its mouth in the dust, [275] if so be there may be hope-to repeat the quotation made above from Jeremias. [276]

Over the white and the green vestments, as the crown and perfection of this disguise and livery, the soul now puts on the third colour, which is a splendid garment of purple. By this is denoted the third virtue, which is charity. This not only adds grace to the other two colours, but causes the soul to rise to so lofty a point that it is brought near to God, and becomes very beautiful and pleasing to Him, so that it makes bold to say: 'Albeit I am black, O daughters of Jerusalem, I am comely; wherefore the King hath loved me and hath brought me into His chambers.' [277] This livery of charity, which is that of love, and causes greater love in the Beloved, not only protects the soul and hides it from the third enemy, which is the flesh (for where there is true love of God there enters neither love of self nor that of the things of self), but even gives worth to the other virtues, bestowing on them vigour and strength to protect the soul, and grace and beauty to please the Beloved with them, for without charity no virtue has grace before God. This is the purple which is spoken of in the Songs, [278] upon which God reclines. Clad in this purple livery the soul journeys when (as has been explained above in the first stanza) it goes forth from itself in the dark night, and from all things created, 'kindled in love with yearnings,' by this secret ladder of contemplation, to the perfect union of love of God, its beloved salvation. [279]

This, then, is the disguise which the soul says that it wears in the night of faith, upon this secret ladder, and these are its three colours. They constitute a most fit preparation for the union of the soul with God, according to its three faculties, which are understanding, memory and will. For faith voids and darkens the understanding as to all its natural intelligence, and herein prepares it for union with Divine Wisdom. Hope voids and withdraws the memory from all creature possessions; for, as Saint Paul says, hope is for that which is not possessed; [280] and thus it withdraws the memory from that which it is capable of possessing, and sets it on that for which it hopes. And for this cause hope in God alone prepares the memory purely for union with God. Charity, in the same way, voids and annihilates the affections and desires of the will for whatever is not God, and sets them upon Him alone; and thus this virtue prepares this faculty and unites it with God through love. And thus, since the function of these virtues is the withdrawal of the soul from all that is less than God, their function is consequently that of joining it with God. And thus, unless it journeys earnestly, clad in the garments of these three virtues, it is impossible for the soul to attain to the perfection of union with God through love. Wherefore, in order that the soul might attain that which it desired, which was this loving and delectable union with its Beloved, this disguise and clothing which it assumed was most necessary and convenient. And likewise to have succeeded in thus clothing itself and persevering until it should obtain the end and aspiration which it had so much desired, which was the union of love, was a great and happy chance, wherefore in this line the soul also says:

Oh, happy chance!

Re: Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:02 pm
by admin
Chapter 22

Explains the third [281] line of the second stanza.

It is very clear that it was a happy chance for this soul to go forth with such an enterprise as this, for it was its going forth that delivered it from the devil and from the world and from its own sensuality, as we have said. Having attained liberty of spirit, so precious and so greatly desired by all, it went forth from low things to high; from terrestrial, it became celestial; from human, Divine. Thus it came to have its conversation in the heavens, as has the soul in this state of perfection, even as we shall go on to say in what follows, although with rather more brevity.

For the most important part of my task, and the part which chiefly led me to undertake it, was the explanation of this night to many souls who pass through it and yet know nothing about it, as was said in the prologue. Now this explanation and exposition has already been half completed. Although much less has been said of it than might be said, we have shown how many are the blessings which the soul bears with it through the night and how happy is the chance whereby it passes through it, so that, when a soul is terrified by the horror of so many trials, it is also encouraged by the certain hope of so many and such precious blessings of God as it gains therein. And furthermore, for yet another reason, this was a happy chance for the soul; and this reason is given in the following line:

In darkness and in concealment.

Re: Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:03 pm
by admin
Chapter 23

Expounds the fourth line [282] 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.

'In concealment' is as much as to say 'in a hiding-place,' or 'in hiding'; and thus, what the soul here says (namely, that it went forth 'in darkness and in concealment') is a more complete explanation of the great security which it describes itself in the first line of the stanza as possessing, by means of this dark contemplation upon the road of the union of the love of God.

When the soul, then, says 'in darkness and in concealment,' it means that, inasmuch as it journeyed in darkness after the manner aforementioned, it went in hiding and in concealment from the devil and from his wiles and stratagems. The reason why, as it journeys in the darkness of this contemplation, the soul is free, and is hidden from the stratagems of the devil, is that the infused contemplation which it here possesses is infused into it passively and secretly, without the knowledge of the senses and faculties, whether interior or exterior, of the sensual part. And hence it follows that, not only does it journey in hiding, and is free from the impediment which these faculties can set in its way because of its natural weakness, but likewise from the devil; who, except through these faculties of the sensual part, cannot reach or know that which is in the soul, nor that which is taking place within it. Wherefore, the more spiritual, the more interior and the more remote from the senses is the communication, the farther does the devil fall short of understanding it.

And thus it is of great importance for the security of the soul that its inward communication with God should be of such a kind that its very senses of the lower part will remain in darkness [283] and be without knowledge of it, and attain not to it: first, so that it may be possible for the spiritual communication to be more abundant, and that the weakness of its sensual part may not hinder the liberty of its spirit; secondly because, as we say, the soul journeys more securely since the devil cannot penetrate so far. In this way we may understand that passage where Our Saviour, speaking in a spiritual sense, says: 'Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.' [284] Which is as though He had said: Let not thy left hand know that which takes place upon thy right hand, which is the higher and spiritual part of the soul; that is, let it be of such a kind that the lower portion of thy soul, which is the sensual part, may not attain to it; let it be a secret between the spirit and God alone.

It is quite true that oftentimes, when these very intimate and secret spiritual communications are present and take place in the soul, although the devil cannot get to know of what kind and manner they are, yet the great repose and silence which some of them cause in the senses and the faculties of the sensual part make it clear to him that they are taking place and that the soul is receiving a certain blessing from them. And then, as he sees that he cannot succeed in thwarting them in the depth of the soul, he does what he can to disturb and disquiet the sensual part-that part to which he is able to attain -- now by means of afflictions, now by terrors and fears, with intent to disquiet and disturb the higher and spiritual part of the soul by this means, with respect to that blessing which it then receives and enjoys. But often, when the communication of such contemplation makes its naked assault upon the soul and exerts its strength upon it, the devil, with all his diligence, is unable to disturb it; rather the soul receives a new and a greater advantage and a securer peace. For, when it feels the disturbing presence of the enemy, then -- wondrous thing! -- without knowing how it comes to pass, and without any efforts of its own, it enters farther into its own interior depths, feeling that it is indeed being set in a sure refuge, where it perceives itself to be most completely withdrawn and hidden from the enemy. And thus its peace and joy, which the devil is attempting to take from it, are increased; and all the fear that assails it remains without; and it becomes clearly and exultingly conscious of its secure enjoyment of that quiet peace and sweetness of the hidden Spouse, which neither the world nor the devil can give it or take from it. In that state, therefore, it realizes the truth of the words of the Bride about this, in the Songs, namely: 'See how threescore strong men surround the bed of Solomon, etc., because of the fears of the night.' [285] It is conscious of this strength and peace, although it is often equally conscious that its flesh and bones are being tormented from without.

At other times, when the spiritual communication is not made in any great measure to the spirit, but the senses have a part therein, the devil more easily succeeds in disturbing the spirit and raising a tumult within it, by means of the senses, with these terrors. Great are the torment and the affliction which are then caused in the spirit; at times they exceed all that can be expressed, For, when there is a naked contact of spirit with spirit, the horror is intolerable which the evil spirit causes in the good spirit (I mean, in the soul), when its tumult reaches it. This is expressed likewise by the Bride in the Songs, when she says that it has happened thus to her at a time when she wished to descend to interior recollection in order to have fruition of these blessings. She says: 'I went down into the garden of nuts to see the apples of the valleys, and if the vine had flourished. I knew not; my soul troubled me because of the chariots' -- that is, because of the chariots and the noise of Aminadab, which is the devi1. [286]

At other times it comes to pass that the devil is occasionally able to see certain favours which God is pleased to grant the soul when they are bestowed upon it by the mediation of a good angel; for of those favours which come through a good angel God habitually allows the enemy to have knowledge: partly so that he may do that which he can against them according to the measure of justice, and that thus he may not be able to allege with truth that no opportunity is given him for conquering the soul, as he said concerning Job. [287] This would be the case if God allowed not a certain equality between the two warriors -- namely, the good angel and the bad -- when they strive for the soul, so that the victory of either may be of the greater worth, and the soul that is victorious and faithful in temptation may be the more abundantly rewarded.

We must observe, therefore, that it is for this reason that, in proportion as God is guiding the soul and communing with it, He gives the devil leave to act with it after this manner. When the soul has genuine visions by the instrumentality of the good angel (for it is by this instrumentality that they habitually come, even though Christ reveal Himself, for He scarcely ever appears [288] in His actual person), God also gives the wicked angel leave to present to the soul false visions of this very type in such a way that the soul which is not cautious may easily be deceived by their outward appearance, as many souls have been. Of this there is a figure in Exodus, [298] where it is said that all the genuine signs that Moses wrought were wrought likewise in appearance by the magicians of Pharao. If he brought forth frogs, they brought them forth likewise; if he turned water into blood, they did the same.

And not only does the evil one imitate God in this type of bodily vision, but he also imitates and interferes in spiritual communications which come through the instrumentality of an angel, when he succeeds in seeing them, as we say (for, as Job said [290]: Omne sublime videt). These, however, as they are without form and figure (for it is the nature of spirit to have no such thing), he cannot imitate and counterfeit like those others which are presented under some species or figure. And thus, in order to attack the soul, in the same way as that wherein it is being visited, his fearful spirit presents a similar vision in order to attack and destroy spiritual things by spiritual. When this comes to pass just as the good angel is about to communicate spiritual contemplation to the soul, it is impossible for the soul to shelter itself in the secrecy and hiding-place of contemplation with sufficient rapidity not to be observed by the devil; and thus he appears to it and produces a certain horror and perturbation of spirit which at times is most distressing to the soul. Sometimes the soul can speedily free itself from him, so that there is no opportunity for the aforementioned horror of the evil spirit to make an impression on it; and it becomes recollected within itself, being favoured, to this end, by the effectual spiritual grace that the good angel then communicates to it.

At other times the devil prevails and encompasses the soul with a perturbation and horror which is a greater affliction to it than any torment in this life could be. For, as this horrible communication passes direct from spirit to spirit, in something like nakedness and clearly distinguished from all that is corporeal, it is grievous beyond what every sense can feel; and this lasts in the spirit for some time, yet not for long, for otherwise the spirit would be driven forth from the flesh by the vehement communication of the other spirit. Afterwards there remains to it the memory thereof, which is sufficient to cause it great affliction.

All that we have here described comes to pass in the soul passively, without its doing or undoing anything of itself with respect to it. But in this connection it must be known that, when the good angel permits the devil to gain this advantage of assailing the soul with this spiritual horror, he does it to purify the soul and to prepare it by means of this spiritual vigil for some great spiritual favour and festival which he desires to grant it, for he never mortifies save to give life, nor humbles save to exalt, which comes to pass shortly afterwards. Then, according as was the dark and horrible purgation which the soul suffered, so is the fruition now granted it of a wondrous and delectable spiritual contemplation, sometimes so lofty that there is no language to describe it. But the spirit has been greatly refined by the preceding horror of the evil spirit, in order that it may be able to receive this blessing; for these spiritual visions belong to the next life rather than to this, and when one of them is seen this is a preparation for the next.

This is to be understood with respect to occasions when God visits the soul by the instrumentality of a good angel, wherein, as has been said, the soul is not so totally in darkness and in concealment that the enemy cannot come within reach of it. But, when God Himself visits it, then the words of this line are indeed fulfilled, and it is in total darkness and in concealment from the enemy that the soul receives these spiritual favours of God. The reason for this is that, as His Majesty dwells substantially in the soul, where neither angel nor devil can attain to an understanding of that which comes to pass, they cannot know the intimate and secret communications which take place there between the soul and God. These communications, since the Lord Himself works them, are wholly Divine and sovereign, for they are all substantial touches of Divine union between the soul and God; in one of which the soul receives a greater blessing than in all the rest, since this is the loftiest degree [291] of prayer in existence.

For these are the touches that the Bride entreated of Him in the Songs, saying: Osculetur me oscula oris sui, [292] Since this is a thing which takes place in such close intimacy, with God, whereto the soul desires with such yearnings to attain, it esteems and longs for a touch of this Divinity more than all the other favours that God grants it. Wherefore, after many such favours have been granted to the Bride in the said Songs, of which she has sung therein, she is not satisfied, but entreats Him for these Divine touches, saying: 'Who shall give Thee to me, my brother, that I might find Thee alone without, sucking the breasts of my mother, so that I might kiss Thee with the mouth of my soul, and that thus no man should despise me or make bold to attack me.' [293] By this she denotes the communication which God Himself alone makes to her, as we are saying, far from all the creatures and without their knowledge, for this is meant by 'alone and without, sucking, etc.' -- that is, drying up and draining the breasts of the desires and affections of the sensual part of the soul. This takes place when the soul, in intimate peace and delight, has fruition of these blessings, with liberty of spirit, and without the sensual part being able to hinder it, or the devil to thwart it by means thereof. And then the devil would not make bold to attack it, for he would not reach it, neither could he attain to an understanding of these Divine touches in the substance of the soul in the loving substance of God.

To this blessing none attains save through intimate purgation and detachment and spiritual concealment from all that is creature; it comes to pass in the darkness, as we have already explained at length and as we say with respect to this line. The soul is in concealment and in hiding, in the which hiding-place. as we have now said, it continues to be strengthened in union with God through love, wherefore it sings this in the same phrase, saying: 'In darkness and in concealment.'

When it comes to pass that those favours are granted to the soul in concealment (that is, as we have said, in spirit only), the soul is wont, during Borne of them, and without knowing how this comes to pass, to see itself so far with drawn and separated according to the higher and spiritual part, from the sensual and lower portion, that it recognizes in itself two parts so distinct from each other that it believes that the one has naught to do with the other, but that the one is very remote and far withdrawn from the other. And in reality, in a certain way, this is so; for the operation is now wholly spiritual, and the soul receives no communication in its sensual part. In this way the soul gradually becomes wholly spiritual; and in this hiding-place of unitive contemplation its spiritual desires and passions are to a great degree removed and purged away. And thus, speaking of its higher part, the soul then says in this last line:

My house being now at rest. [294]

Re: Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:03 pm
by admin
Chapter 24

Completes the explanation of the second stanza.

This is as much as to say: The higher portion of my soul being like the lower part also, at rest with respect to its desires and faculties, I went forth to the Divine union of the love of God.

Inasmuch as, by means of that war of the dark night, as has been said, the soul is combated and purged after two manners -- namely, according to its sensual and its spiritual part -- with its senses, faculties and passions, so likewise after two manners -- namely, according to these two parts, the sensual and the spiritual -- with all its faculties and desires, the soul attains to an enjoyment of peace and rest. For this reason, as has likewise been said, the soul twice pronounced this line -- namely, [295] in this stanza and in the last -- because of these two portions of the soul, the spiritual and the sensual, which, in order that they may go forth to the Divine union of love, must needs first be reformed, ordered and tranquilized with respect to the sensual and to the spiritual, according to the nature of the state of innocence which was Adam's. [296] And thus this line which, in the first stanza, was understood of the repose of the lower and sensual portion, is, in this second stanza, understood more particularly of the higher and spiritual part; for which reason it is repeated. [297]

This repose and quiet of this spiritual house the soul comes to attain, habitually and perfectly (in so far as the condition of this life allows), by means of the acts of the substantial touches of Divine union whereof we have just spoken; which, in concealment, and hidden from the perturbation of the devil, and of its own senses and passions, the soul has been receiving from the Divinity, wherein it has been purifying itself, as I say, resting, strengthening and confirming itself in order to be able to receive the said union once and for all, which is the Divine betrothal between the soul and the Son of God. As soon as these two houses of the soul have together become tranquillized and strengthened, with all their domestics -- namely, the faculties and desires -- and have put these domestics to sleep and made them to be silent with respect to all things, both above and below, this Divine Wisdom immediately unites itself with the soul by making a new bond of loving possession, and there is fulfilled that which is written in the Book of Wisdom, in these words: Dum quietum silentium contineret omnia, et nox in suo cursu medium iter haberet, omnipotens sermo tuus Domine a regalibus sedibus. [298] The same thing is described by the Bride in the Songs, [299] where she says that, after she had passed by those who stripped her of her mantle by night and wounded her, she found Him Whom her soul loved.

The soul cannot come to this union without great purity, and this purity is not gained without great detachment from every created thing and sharp mortification. This is signified by the stripping of the Bride of her mantle and by her being wounded by night as she sought and went after the Spouse; for the new mantle which belonged to the betrothal could not be put on until the old mantle was stripped off. Wherefore. he that refuses to go forth in the night aforementioned to seek the Beloved, and to be stripped of his own will and to be mortified, but seeks Him upon his bed and at his own convenience, as did the Bride, [300] will not succeed in finding Him. For this soul says of itself that it found Him by going forth in the dark and with yearnings of love.

Re: Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:03 pm
by admin
Chapter 25

Wherein is expounded the third stanza.

In the happy night, In secret, when none saw me, Nor I beheld aught, Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart.


The soul still continues the metaphor and similitude of temporal night in describing this its spiritual night, and continues to sing and extol the good properties which belong to it, and which in passing through this night it found and used, to the end that it might attain its desired goal with speed and security. Of these properties it here sets down three.

The first, it says, is that in this happy night of contemplation God leads the soul by a manner of contemplation so solitary and secret, so remote and far distant from sense, that naught pertaining to it, nor any touch of created things, succeeds in approaching the soul in such a way as to disturb it and detain it on the road of the union of love.

The second property whereof it speaks pertains to the spiritual darkness of this night, wherein all the faculties of the higher part of the soul are in darkness. The soul sees naught, neither looks at aught neither stays in aught that is not God, to the end that it may reach Him, inasmuch as it journeys unimpeded by obstacles of forms and figures, and of natural apprehensions, which are those that are wont to hinder the soul from uniting with the eternal Being of God.

The third is that, although as it journeys it is supported by no particular interior light of understanding, nor by any exterior guide, that it may receive satisfaction therefrom on this lofty road -- it is completely deprived of all this by this thick darkness -- yet its love alone, which burns at this time, and makes its heart to long for the Beloved, is that which now moves and guides it, and makes it to soar upward to its God along the road of solitude, without its knowing how or in what manner.

There follows the line:

In the happy night.

Re: Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:04 pm
by admin

1. Ascent, Bk. I, chap. i, sect. 2.
2. Op, cit., sect. 3.
3. Dark Night, Bk. 1, chap, iii, sect. 3.
4. Op. cit., Bk. I, chap. i, sect. 1.
5. Dark Night, Bk. 1, chap. viii, sect. 1.
6. Op. cit., Bk. I, chap. viii, sect. 2.
7. Ibid.
8. Dark Night, Bk. I, chap. x, sect. 4.
9. Op. cit., Bk. II, chap. iii, sect. 1.
10. Op. cit., Bk. II, chap. i, sect. 1.
11. Dark Night, Bk. II, chap. xi, sect. 1.
12. Dark Night, Bk. II, chap. xvi, sect. 2.
13. [On this, see Sobrino, pp. 159-66.]
14. Cf. pp. lviii-lxiii, Ascent of Mount Carmel (Image Books edition).
15. [It contains a series of paradoxical statements, after the style of those in Ascent, Bk. I, chap. xiii, and is of no great literary merit. P. Silverio reproduces it in Spanish on p. 302 (note) of his first volume.]
16. The 'first friar' would be P. Antonio de Jesus, who was senior to St. John of the Cross in the Carmelite Order, though not in the Reform.
17. The longest of these are one of ten lines in Bk. I, chap. iv, [in the original] and those of Bk. II, chaps. vii, viii, xii, xiii, which vary from eleven to twenty-three lines. Bk. II, chap. xxiii, has also considerable modifications.
18. The chief interpolation is in Bk. I, chap. x.
19. St. Matthew vii, 14.
20. [More exactly: 'purificative.']
21. St. Luke xviii, 11-12.
22. St. Matthew vii, 3.
23. St. Matthew xxiii, 24.
24. [Lit., 'Presuming.')
25. [The original merely has: 'and are often eager.']
26. [Lit., 'a thousand envies and disquietudes.']
27. St. Matthew xxv, 8. [Lit., 'who, having their lamps dead, sought oil from without.']
28. [Lit., 'to have.']
29. (Lit., 'these fervours.']
30. [Lit., 'into something of this.']
31. The agnusdei was a wax medal with a representation of the lamb stamped upon it, often blessed by the pope; at the time of the Saint such medals were greatly sought after, as we know from various references in St. Teresa's letters.
32. (The word nomina, translated 'token,' and normally meaning list, or 'roll,' refers to a relic on which were written the names of saints. In modern Spanish it can denote a medal or amulet used superstitiously.]
33. [No doubt a branch of palm, olive or rosemary, blessed in church on Palm Sunday, like the English palm crosses of today. 'Palm Sunday' is in Spanish Domingo de ramas: 'Branch Sunday:]
34. [Lit., 'recreation.']
35. [Lit., 'recreation.']
36. [Lit., 'of everything.']
37. All writers who comment upon this delicate matter go into lengthy and learned explanations of it, though in reality there is little that needs to be added to the Saint's clear and apt exposition. It will be remembered that St. Teresa once wrote to her brother Lorenzo, who suffered in this way: 'As to those stirrings of sense .... I am quite clear they are of no account, so the best thing is to make no account of them' (LL. 168). The most effective means of calming souls tormented by these favours is to commend them to a discreet and wise director whose counsel they may safely follow. The Illuminists committed the grossest errors in dealing with this matter.
38. St. John iii, 6.
39. [Lit. 'they even do it.']
40. [Lit., 'spiritual road.']
41. [Lit., 'these persons.']
42. [Lit., 'and treat this as their God.']
43. [The Spanish is impersonal: 'immediately this is taken from them,' etc.]
44. [Lit., 'and opinion.']
45. [Lit., 'anyhow.']
46. [Lit, 'the other boldnesses are.']
47. [Lit., 'they strive to obtain this, as they say, by the strength of their arms.' The phrase is, of course, understood in the Spanish to be metaphorical, as the words 'as they say' clearly indicate.]
48. [Lit., 'who are not influenced, neither act by reason, but from pleasure.']
49. [Lit., 'which we shall give.']
50. [aspero: harsh, rough, rugged.]
51. [Lit., 'against all the sweetlessness of self-denial.']
52. [Lit., 'causing them to enter.']
53. [Lit., 'and, as they say, their eye (el ojo) grows' -- a colloquial phrase expressing annoyance.]
54. 1 Corinthians xiii, 6. The Saint here cites the sense, not the letter, of the epistle.
55. St. Matthew xvi, 25.
56. [Lit., 'they are very weak for the fortitude and trial of perfection.']
57. St. Matthew vii, 14.
58. [Lit., 'say.']
59. [Lit., 'say.']
60. [platica: the word is frequently used in Spanish to denote an informal sermon or address.]
61. [Lit., 'low'; the same word recurs below and is similarly translated .]
62. [Lit., 'to the better time.']
63. [Lit., 'And in this it is known very probably.']
64. Numbers xi, 5-6.
65. [Lit., 'makes us to desire our miseries.']
66. [Lit., 'incommunicable.']
67. Canticles vi, 4 [A.V., vi, 5].
68. [Lit., 'satisfactory and pacific.']
69. Psalm lxxxiv, 9 [A.V., lxxxv, 8].
70. [The stress here is evidently on the transience of the distempers whether they be moral or physical.]
71. [Lit., 'spoiling themselves in the one.']
72. [Lit., 'because they seek their spirit.']
73. [Lit., 'without doing anything themselves.']
74. [Lit., 'which it may then wish to have.']
75. Psalm lxxii, 21 [A.V., lxxiii, 21-2].
76. [Lit., 'livingness': cf. the quotation below.]
77. Psalm xli, 3 [A.V., xlii, 2].
78. [Lit., 'and chance': the same word as in the verse-line above.]
79. St. Matthew vii, 14.
80. Genesis xxi, 8.
81. Exodus xxxiii, 5.
82. [Job ii, 7·8].
83. [Lit., 'the deep heights.']
84. Isaias lviii, 10.
85. Isaias xxviii, 19. [The author omits the actual text.]
86. To translate this passage at all, we must read the Dios como of P. Silverio (p. 403, 1. 20), which is also found in P. Gerardo and elsewhere, as como Dios.
87. Isaias xxviii, 9.
88. Habacuc ii, 1.
89. St. Augustine: Soliloq., Cap. ii.
90. Psalm lxii, 3 [A.V., lxiii, 1-2].
91. Psalm xxxviii, 3 [A.V., xxxix, 2].
92. Psalm lxxvi, 4 [A.V., lxxvii, 3-4].
93. Psalm lxxvi, 7 [A.V., lxxvii, 6].
94. Psalm 1, 19 [A.V., 1i, 17]
95. [The 'spirit of giddiness' of D.V., and 'perverse spirit' of A.V., Isaias xix, 14.]
96. Ecclesiasticus xxxiv, 9-10.
97. Jeremias xxxi, 18.
98. [Lit., 'for certain days.']
99. [Lit. , 'from a narrow prison.']
100. [i.e., between sense and spirit.]
101. Psalm cxlvii, 17 [D.V. and A.V.].
102. Wisdom ix, 15.
103. (Lit.. 'Continues with other imperfections.']
104. [i.e., 'deadening of the mind.']
105. Osee ii, 20.
106. 1 Corinthians xiii, II.
107. [Ephesians iv, 24.]
108. Psaim xcvi, 2 [A.V., xcvii, 2].
109. [Lit., 'not attaining,']
110. Psalm xvii, 13 [A.V., xviii, 12].
111. Job vii, 20.
112. Psalm xxxviii, 12 [A.V., xxxix, 11].
113. Job xxiii, 6.
114. Job xix, 21.
115. [There is a reference here to Job vii, 20: cf. sect. 5, above.]
116. Jonas ii, 1.
117. Psalm xvii, 5-7 [A.V., xviii, 4-5].
118. Psalm lxxxvii, 6-8 [A.V., lxxxviii, 5-7].
119. Psalm lxxxvii, 9 [A.V., lxxxviii, 8].
120. Jonas ii, 4-7 [A.V., ii, 3-6].
121. Ezechiel xxiv, 10.
122. Ezechiel xxiv, II.
123. Wisdom iii, 6.
124. Psalm lxviii, 2-4 [A.V., lxix, 1-3].
125. [i.e., purgatory.]
126. Job xvi, 13-17 [A.V., xvi, 12-16].
127. Lamentations iii, 1·20.
128. Job xii, 22.
129. Psalm cxxxviii, 12 [A.V., cxxxix, 12].
130. [Lit., 'like to the dead of the world (or of the age).']
131. Psalm cxlii, 3 [A.V., cxliii, 3-4].
132. Psalm xxix, 7 [A.V., xxx, 6].
133. [Lit., 'and play his tricks upon it.']
134. B. Bz., C, H. Mtr. all have this long passage on the suffering of the soul in Purgatory. It would be rash, therefore, to deny that St. John of the Cross is its author, [or to suppose, as P. Gerardo did, that he deleted it during a revision of his works]. An admirably constructed synthesis of these questions will be found in B. Belarmino, De Purgatorio, Bk. II, chaps. iv, v. He asks if souls in Purgatory are sure of their salvation. This was denied by Luther, and by a number of Catholic writers, who held that, among the afflictions of these souls, the greatest is this very uncertainty, some maintain that, though they have in fact such certainty, they are unaware of it. Belarmino quotes among other authorities Denis the Carthusian De quattuor novissimis, Gerson (Lect. I De Vita Spirituali) and John of Rochester (against Luther's 32nd article); these writers claim that, as sin which is venial is only so through the Divine mercy, it may with perfect justice be rewarded by eternal punishment, and thus souls that have committed venial sin cannot be confident of their salvation. He also shows, however, that the common opinion of theologians is that the souls in Purgatory are sure of their salvation, and considers various degrees of certainty, adding very truly that, while these souls experience no fear, they experience hope, since they have not yet the Beatific vision. Uncertainty as to their salvation, it is said, might arise from ignorance of the sentence passed upon them by the Judge or from the deadening of their faculties by the torments which they are suffering. Belarmino refutes these and other suppositions with great force and effect. St. John of the Cross seems to be referring to the last named when he writes of the realization of their afflictions and their deprivation of God not allowing them to enjoy the blessings of the theological virtues. It is not surprising if the Saint, not having examined very closely this question, of which he would have read treatments in various authors, thought of it principally as an apt illustration of the purifying and refining effects of passive purgation; and an apt illustration it certainly is.
135. Lamentations iii, 44.
136. [Lamentations iii, 9.]
137. Lamentationa iii, 9.
138. Lamentations iii, 28.
139. [Lit., 'at the Divine things.']
140. Psalm lxxii, 22 [A.V., lxxiii, 22].
141. 1 Corinthians ii, 10. [Lit., 'penetrates all things.']
142. Wisdom vii, 24.
143. 2 Corinthians vi, 10.
144. [Lit., 'with a certain eminence of excellence.']
145. [Lit., '... sweetness, with great eminence.']
146. Exodus xvi, 3.
147. Wisdom xvi. 21.
148. [Lit., 'from every kind.' But see Tobias viii, 2. The 'deprived' of e.p. gives the best reading of this phrase, but the general sense is clear from the Scriptural reference.]
149. Tobias viii, 2.
150. Isaias lxiv, 4 [1 Corinthians ii, 9].
151. [Lit., 'be made thin.']
152. Isaias xxvi, 17-18.
153. [Philippians iv, 7.J
154. [We have here split up a parenthesis of about seventy words.]
155. [Lit., 'and wept.']
156. Lamentations iii, 17.
157. Psalm xxxvii, 9 [A.V., xxxviii, 8].
158. [Lit., '... sees itself, it arises and is surrounded with pain and affliction the affections of the soul, that I know not how it could be described.' A confused, ungrammatical sentence, of which, however, the general meaning is not doubtful.]
159. Job iii, 24.
160. Job xxx, 17.
161. Job xxx, 16.
162. Lamentations iii, 17.
163. Wisdom vii, 11.
164. Ecclesiasticus 1i, 28-9 [A.V., Ii, 19-21].
165. [Lit., 'more delicate.']
166. [Lit., 'fury.']
167. [The sudden change of metaphor is the author's. The 'assault' is, of course, the renewed growth of the 'root.']
168. [Lit., '... from the soul, with regard to that which has already been purified.']
169. [Lit., 'not enlightened': the word is the same as that used just above.]
170. [The word translated 'over' is rendered 'gone' just above.]
171. [Lit., 'in loves'; and so throughout the exposition of this line.]
172. [Lit., 'cling,' 'adhere.']
173. [Lit., 'shut up.']
174. [Here, and below, the original has recogidos, the word normally translated 'recollected']
175. Psalm lviii, 10 [A V., lix, 9].
176. Deuteronomy vi, 5.
177. Psalm lviii, 15-16 [A.V., lix, 14-15].
178. Psalm lxii, 2 [A.V., lxiii, 1].
179. [Lit., as in the verses, 'in loves.']
180. [For cievra, hart, read siervo, servant, and we have the correct quotation from Scripture. The change, however, was evidently made by the Saint knowingly. In P. Gerardo's edition, the Latin text, with cervus, precedes the Spanish translation, with ciervo.]
181. Job vii, 2-4.
182. [No cabe: Lit., 'it cannot be contained,' 'there is no room for it.']
183. Isaias xxvi, 9.
184. Psalm I, 12 [A.V., 1i, 10].
185. [Lit., 'enamoured.']
186. Lamentations i, 13.
187. Psalm xi, 7 [A.V., xii, 6].
188. The Schoolmen frequently assert that the lower angels are purged and illumined by the higher. Cf. St. Thomas, Summa, I, q. 106, a. 1, ad. 1.
189. [Lit., 'and softens.']
190. [More literally, 'is sick.']
191. Psalm xxxviii, 4 [A.V., xxxix, 3].
192. [Lit., 'the beginnings.']
193. The Saint here treats a question often debated by philosophers and mystics-that of love and knowledge. Cf. also Spiritual Canticle, Stanza XVII, and Living Flame, Stanza Ill. Philosophers generally maintain that it is impossible to love without knowledge, and equally so to love more of an object than what is known of it. Mystics have, however, their own solutions of the philosophers' difficulty and the speculative Spanish mystics have much to say on the matter. (Cf., for example, the Medula Mistica, Trat. V, Chap. iv, and the Escuela de Oracion, Trat. XII, Duda v.)
194. St. John i, 5.
195. [Lit., 'the yearning to think of it.']
196. [The word translated 'estimation' might also be rendered 'reverent love.' The 'love of estimation,' which has its seat in the understanding, is contrasted with the 'enkindling' or the 'love of desire,' which has its seat in the will. So elsewhere in this paragraph.]
197. St . John xx, 1 [St. Matthew xxvii, 62-6].
198. St. John xx, 15.
199. [Lit., 'outskirts,' 'suburbs.']
200. Canticles v, 8.
201. Genesis xxx, 1.
202. Ephesians iv, 4.
203. Canticles viii, 1.
204. St. Matthew x, 36.
205. [Lit., 'The line, then, continues, and says thus.' In fact, however, the author is returning to the first line of the stanza.]
206. [Lit., 'taste.']
207. Some have considered this description exaggerated, but it must be borne in mind that all souls are not tested alike and the Saint is writing of those whom God has willed to raise to such sanctity that they drain the cup of bitterness to the dregs. We have already seen (Bk. I, chap. xiv, sect. 5) that 'all do not experience (this) after one manner ... for (it) is meted out by the will of God, in conformity with the greater or the smaller degree of imperfection which each soul has to purge away, (and) in conformity, likewise, with the degree of love of union to which God is pleased to raise it' (Bk. I, chap xiv, above).
208. Osee xiii, 9.
209. Psalm xvii, 12 [A.V., xviii, 11].
210. Psalm xvii, 13 [A.V., xviii, 12].
211. Isaias v, 30.
212. Psalm xxx, 21 [A.V., xxxi, 20].
213. Propter hoc Gregorius (Hom. 14 in Ezech.) constituit vitam contemplativam in charitate Dei.' cr. Summa Theologica. 2a, 2ae, q. 45, a. 2.
214. Jeremias i, 6.
215. Exodus iv, 10 [cf. iii, 2].
216. Acts vii, 32.
217. [Or: 'and they know not how to say it nor are able to do so.']
218. [Lit., 'to him that rules them.']
219. [Lit., 'that is set most far away and most remote from every creatures.']
220. Baruch iii, 31.
221. Psalm lxxvi, 19-20 [A.V., lxxvii, 18-19].
222. [Lit., 'of the roundness of the earth.']
223. Job xxxvii, 16.
224. [Lit., 'rises to scale, know and possess.')
225. Psalm lxxxiii, 6 [A.V., lxxxiv, 7].
226. St . Luke xiv, 11.
227. Proverbs xviii, 12.
228. Genesis xxviii, 12.
229. [Lit., 'and annihilating oneself.']
230. Ut dicit Bernardus, Magna res est amor, sed sunt in eo gradus. Loquendo ergo aliquantulum magis moraliter quam realiter, decem amoris gradus distinguere possumus' (D. Thom., De dilectione Dei et proximi, cap. xxvii. Cf. Opusc. LXI of the edition of Venice, 1595).
231. [The word translated 'step' may also (and often more elegantly) be rendered 'degree.' The same word is kept, however, throughout the translation of this chapter except where noted below.]
232. Canticles v, 8.
233. Psalm cxlii, 7 [A.V., cxliii, 7].
234. Psalm lxvii, 10 [A.V., lxviii, 9].
235. [Lit., 'to enter (upon).']
236. Canticles iii, 2.
237. Psalm civ, 4 [A.V., cv, 4].
238. St. John xx.
239. [The word in the Spanish is that elsewhere translated 'step.']
240. Psalm cxi, 1 [A.V., cxii, 1].
241.(Lit., 'makes in him this labour of eagerness.']
242. Genesis xxix, 20.
243. [Lit., 'how much God merits.']
244. Canticles viii, 5.
245. Jeremias ii, 2.
246. Psalm lxxxiii, 2 [A.V., lxxxiv, 2].
247. Genesis xxx, 1.
248. [Lit., 'On this hungering step.']
249. Isaias xl, 31.
250. Psalm xli, 2 [A.V., xlii, 1].
251. Psalm lviii, 5 [A.V., lix, 4].
252. Psalm cxviii, 32 [A.V., cxix, 32].
253. 1 Corinthians xiii, 7.
254. Exodus xxxii, 31-2.
255. Psalm xxxvi, 4 (A.V., xxxvii, 4].
256. Canticles i, 1.
257. Canticles iii, 4.
258. [Lit., 'attain to setting their foot.']
259. Daniel x, 11.
260. Dum Deum in ignis visione suscipiunt, per amorem suaviter arserunt' (Hom. XXX in Evang.).
261. [i.e., direct, not mediate.]
262. St. Matthew v, 8.
263. St. John iii, 2.
264. St. John xvi, 23.
265. [Lit., 'that it dislocates the sight of all understanding.']
266. 1 St. Peter v, 9.
267. [Lit., 'a better undershirt and tunic.']
268. [Lit., 'this whiteness.']
269. Osee, ii, 20.
270. Psalm xvi, 4 [A.V., xvii, 4].
271. 1 Thessalonians v, 8.
272. Psalm xxiv, 15 [A.V., xxv, 15].
273. Psalm cxxii, 2 [A.V., cxxiii, 2].
274. Canticles iv, 9.
275. Lamentations iii, 29.
276. Ibid. [For the quotation, see Bk. II, chap. viii, sect. 1, above.]
277. Canticles i, 3. [A.V., i, 4.] [For 'chambers' the Spanish has 'bed.']
278. Canticles iii, 10.
279. [Or 'health.']
280. Romans viii, 24.
281. i.e., in the original Spanish and in our verse rendering of the poem in The Complete Works of St. John of the Cross, Ed. by E. Allison Peers, Vol. II (The Newman Press, Westminster, Md.).
282. i.e., in the original Spanish and in our verse rendering of the poem in The Complete Works of St. John of the Cross, Ed. by E. Allison Peers, Vol. II (The Newman Press, Westminster, Md.).
283. [The Spanish also admits of the rendering: 'remain shut off from it by darkness.'] .
284. Matthew vi, 3.
285. Canticles iii, 7-8.
286. Canticles vi, 10 [A.V., vi, 11-12].
287. Job i, 1-11.
288. Such is the unanimous opinion of theologians. Some, with St. Thomas (Pt. III, q. 57, a. 6), suppose that the appearance which converted St. Paul near Damascus was that of Our Lord Jesus Christ in person.
289. Exodus vii, 11-22; viii, 7.
290. Job xli, 25.
291. [Lit., 'step.' Cf. Bk. II, chap. xix, first note, above.]
292. Canticles it 1.
293. Canticles viii, 1.
294. The word translated 'at rest' is a past participle: more literally 'stilled.'
295. [Lit., 'twice repeats'-a loosely used phrase.]
296. H omits this last phrase, which is found in all the other Codices, and in e.p. The latter adds: 'notwithstanding that the soul is not wholly free from the temptations of the lower part.' The addition is made so that the teaching of the Saint may not be confused with that of the Illuminists, who supposed the contemplative in union to be impeccable, do what he might. The Saint's meaning is that for the mystical union of the soul with God such purity and tranquillity of senses and faculties are needful that his condition resembles that state of innocence in which Adam was created, but without the attribute of impeccability, which does not necessarily accompany union, nor can be attained by any, save by a most special privilege of God. Cf. St. Teresa's Interior Castle, VII, ii. St. Teresa will be found occasionally to explain points of mystical doctrine which St. John of the Cross takes as being understood.
297. (Lit., 'twice repeated.']
298. Wisdom xviii, 14.
299. Canticles v, 7.
300. Canticles iii, 1.
301.Thus end the majority of the MSS, Cf. pp, lxviii-lxiii, Ascent of Mount Carmel (Image Books edition), 26-27, on the incomplete state of this treatise, The MSS, say nothing of this, except that in the Alba de Tormes MS, we read: 'Thus far wrote the holy Fray John of the Cross concerning the purgative way, wherein he treats of the active and the passive [aspect] of it as is seen in the treatise of the Ascent of the Mount and in this of the Dark Night, and, as he died, he wrote no more. And hereafter follows the illuminative way, and then the unitive.' Elsewhere we have said that the lack of any commentary on the last five stanzas is not due to the Saint's death, since he lived for many years after writing the commentary on the earlier stanzas.