John, Dark night 1 11
Wherein are expounded the three lines of the stanza.
1 THIS enkindling of love is not as a rule felt at the first, because it hasnot begun to take hold upon the soul, by reason of the impurity of humannature, or because the soul has not understood its own state, as we havesaid, and has therefore given it no peaceful abiding-place within itself.Yet sometimes, nevertheless, there soon begins to make itself felt a certainyearning toward God; and the more this increases, the more is the soulaffectioned and enkindled in love toward God, without knowing or understandinghow and whence this love and affection come to it, but from time to timeseeing this flame and this enkindling grow so greatly within it that it desiresGod with yearning of love; even as David, when he was in this dark night,said of himself in these words,(75) namely: 'Because my heart was enkindled(that is to say, in love of contemplation), my reins also were changed':that is, my desires for sensual affections were changed, namely from theway of sense to the way of the spirit, which is the aridity and cessationfrom all these things whereof we are speaking. And I, he says, was dissolvedin nothing and annihilated, and I knew not; for, as we have said, withoutknowing the way whereby it goes, the soul finds itself annihilated with respectto all things above and below which were accustomed to please it; and itfinds itself enamoured, without knowing how. And because at times the enkindlingof love in the spirit grows greater, the yearnings for God become so greatin the soul that the very bones seem to be dried up by this thirst, and thenatural powers to be fading away, and their warmth and strength to be perishingthrough the intensity(76) of the thirst of love, for the soul feels thatthis thirst of love is a living thirst. This thirst David had and felt, whenhe said: 'My soul thirsted for the living God.'(77) Which is as much as tosay: A living thirst was that of my soul. Of this thirst, since it is living,we may say that it kills. But it is to be noted that the vehemence of thisthirst is not continuous, but occasional although as a rule the soul isaccustomed to feel it to a certain degree.
2. But it must be noted that, as I began to say just now, this love is not as a rule felt at first, butonly the dryness and emptiness are felt whereof we are speaking. Then inplace of this love which afterwards becomes gradually enkindled, what thesoul experiences in the midst of these aridities and emptinesses of the facultiesis an habitual care and solicitude with respect to God, together with griefand fear that it is not serving Him. But it is a sacrifice which is not alittle pleasing to God that the soul should go about afflicted and solicitousfor His love. This solicitude and care leads the soul into that secretcontemplation, until, the senses (that is, the sensual part) having in courseof time been in some degree purged of the natural affections and powers bymeans of the aridities which it causes within them, this Divine love beginsto be enkindled in the spirit. Meanwhile, however, like one who has beguna cure, the soul knows only suffering in this dark and arid purgation ofthe desire; by this means it becomes healed of many imperfections, and exercisesitself in many virtues in order to make itself meet for the said love, aswe shall now say with respect to the line following:
Oh, happy chance!
3. When God leads the soul into this night of sense in order to purge thesense of its lower part and to subdue it, unite it and bring it into conformitywith the spirit, by setting it in darkness and causing it to cease frommeditation (as He afterwards does in order to purify the spirit to uniteit with God, as we shall afterwards say), He brings it into the night ofthe spirit, and (although it appears not so to it) the soul gains so manybenefits that it holds it to be a happy chance to have escaped from the bondsand restrictions of the senses of or its lower self, by means of this nightaforesaid; and utters the present line, namely: Oh, happy chance! With respectto this, it behoves us here to note the benefits which the soul finds inthis night, and because of which it considers it a happy chance to have passedthrough it; all of which benefits the soul includes in the next line, namely:
I went forth without being observed.
4. This going forth is understood of the subjection to its sensual part whichthe soul suffered when it sought God through operations so weak, so limitedand so defective as are those of this lower part; for at every step it stumbledinto numerous imperfections and ignorances, as we have noted above in writingof the seven capital sins. From all these it is freed when this night quencheswithin it all pleasures, whether from above or from below, and makes allmeditation darkness to it, and grants it other innumerable blessings in theacquirement of the virtues, as we shall now show. For it will be a matterof great pleasure and great consolation, to one that journeys on this road,to see how that which seems to the soul so severe and adverse, and so contraryto spiritual pleasure, works in it so many blessings. These, as we say, aregained when the soul goes forth, as regards its affection and operation,by means of this night, from all created things, and when it journeys toeternal things, which is great happiness and good fortune:(78) first, becauseof the great blessing which is in the quenching of the desire and affectionwith respect to all things; secondly, because they are very few that endureand persevere in entering by this strait gate and by the narrow way whichleads to life, as says Our Saviour.(79) The strait gate is this night ofsense, and the soul detaches itself from sense and strips itself thereofthat it may enter by this gate, and establishes itself in faith, which isa stranger to all sense, so that afterwards it may journey by the narrowway, which is the other night--that of the spirit--and this the soul afterwardsenters in order in journey to God in pure faith, which is the means wherebythe soul is united to God. By this road, since it is so narrow, dark andterrible (though there is no comparison between this night of sense and thatother, in its darkness and trials, as we shall say later), they are far fewerthat journey, but its benefits are far greater without comparison than thoseof this present night. Of these benefits we shall now begin to say something,with such brevity as is possible, in order that we may pass to the othernight.
Of the benefits which this night causes in the soul.
1 THIS night and purgation of the desire, a happy one for the soul, works init so many blessings and benefits (although to the soul, as we have said,it rather seems that blessings are being taken away from it) that, even asAbraham made a great feast when he weaned his son Isaac,(80) even so is therejoy in Heaven because God is now taking this soul from its swaddling clothes,setting it down from His arms, making it to walk upon its feet, and likewisetaking from it the milk of the breast and the soft and sweet food properto children, and making it to eat bread with crust, and to begin to enjoythe food of robust persons. This food, in these aridities and this darknessof sense, is now given to the spirit, which is dry and emptied of all thesweetness of sense. And this food is the infused contemplation whereof wehave spoken.
2. This is the first and principal benefit caused by this aridand dark night of contemplation: the knowledge of oneself and of one's misery.For, besides the fact that all the favours which God grants to the soul arehabitually granted to them enwrapped in this knowledge, these aridities andthis emptiness of the faculties, compared with the abundance which the soulexperienced aforetime and the difficulty which it finds in good works, makeit recognize its own lowliness and misery, which in the time of its prosperityit was unable to see. Of this there is a good illustration in the Book ofExodus, where God, wishing to humble the children of Israel and desiringthat they should know themselves, commanded them to take away and strip offthe festal garments and adornments wherewith they were accustomed to adornthemselves in the Wilderness, saying: 'Now from henceforth strip yourselvesof festal ornaments and put on everyday working dress, that ye may know whattreatment ye deserve.'(81) This is as though He had said: Inasmuch as theattire that ye wear, being proper to festival and rejoicing, causes you tofeel less humble concerning yourselves than ye should, put off from you thisattire, in order that henceforth, seeing yourselves clothed with vileness,ye may know that ye merit no more, and may know who ye are. Wherefore thesoul knows the truth that it knew not at first, concerning its own misery;for, at the time when it was clad as for a festival and found in God muchpleasure, consolation and support, it was somewhat more satisfied and contented,since it thought itself to some extent to be serving God. It is true thatsuch souls may not have this idea explicitly in their minds; but some suggestionof it at least is implanted in them by the satisfaction which they find intheir pleasant experiences. But, now that the soul has put on its other andworking attire--that of aridity and abandonment-- and now that its firstlights have turned into darkness, it possesses these lights more truly inthis virtue of self- knowledge, which is so excellent and so necessary,considering itself now as nothing and experiencing no satisfaction in itself;for it sees that it does nothing of itself neither can do anything. And thesmallness of this self-satisfaction, together with the soul's afflictionat not serving God, is considered and esteemed by God as greater than allthe consolations which the soul formerly experienced and the works whichit wrought, however great they were, inasmuch as they were the occasion ofmany imperfections and ignorances. And from this attire of aridity proceed,as from their fount and source of self-knowledge, not only the things whichwe have described already, but also the benefits which we shall now describeand many more which will have to be omitted.
3. In the first place, the soul learns to commune with God with more respect and more courtesy, such as asoul must ever observe in converse with the Most High. These it knew notin its prosperous times of comfort and consolation, for that comforting favourwhich it experienced made its craving for God somewhat bolder than was fitting,and discourteous and ill-considered. Even so did it happen to Moses, whenhe perceived that God was speaking to him; blinded by that pleasure and desire,without further consideration, he would have made bold to go to Him if Godhad not commanded him to stay and put off his shoes. By this incident weare shown the respect and discretion in detachment of desire wherewith aman is to commune with God. When Moses had obeyed in this matter, he becameso discreet and so attentive that the Scripture says that not only did henot make bold to draw near to God, but that he dared not even look at Him.For, having taken off the shoes of his desires and pleasures, he became veryconscious of his wretchedness in the sight of God, as befitted one aboutto hear the word of God. Even so likewise the preparation which God grantedto Job in order that he might speak with Him consisted not in those delightsand glories which Job himself reports that he was wont to have in his God,but in leaving him naked upon a dung- hill,(82) abandoned and even persecutedby his friends, filled with anguish and bitterness, and the earth coveredwith worms. And then the Most High God, He that lifts up the poor man fromthe dunghill, was pleased to come down and speak with him there face to face,revealing to him the depths and heights(83) of His wisdom, in a way thatHe had never done in the time of his prosperity.
4. And here we must note another excellent benefit which there is in this night and aridity of thedesire of sense, since we have had occasion to speak of it. It is that, inthis dark night of the desire (to the end that the words of the Prophet maybe fulfilled, namely: 'Thy light shall shine in the darkness'(84)), God willenlighten the soul, giving it knowledge, not only of its lowliness andwretchedness, as we have said, but likewise of the greatness and excellenceof God. For, as well as quenching the desires and pleasures and attachmentsof sense, He cleanses and frees the understanding that it may understandthe truth; for pleasure of sense and desire, even though it be for spiritualthings, darkens and obstructs the spirit, and furthermore that straitnessand aridity of sense enlightens and quickens the understanding, as saysIsaias.(85) Vexation makes us to understand how the soul that is empty anddisencumbered, as is necessary for His Divine influence, is instructedsupernaturally by God in His Divine wisdom, through this dark and arid nightof contemplation,(86) as we have said; and this instruction God gave notin those first sweetnesses and joys.
5. This is very well explained by the same prophet Isaias, where he says: 'Whom shall God teach His knowledge,and whom shall He make to understand the hearing?' To those, He says, thatare weaned from the milk and drawn away from the breasts.(87) Here it isshown that the first milk of spiritual sweetness is no preparation for thisDivine influence, neither is there preparation in attachment to the breastof delectable meditations, belonging to the faculties of sense, which gavethe soul pleasure; such preparation consists rather in the lack of the oneand withdrawal from the other. Inasmuch as, in order to listen to God, thesoul needs to stand upright and to be detached, with regard to affectionand sense, even as the Prophet says concerning himself, in these words: Iwill stand upon my watch (this is that detachment of desire) and I will makefirm my step (that is, I will not meditate with sense), in order to contemplate(that is, in order to understand that which may come to me from God).(88)So we have now arrived at this, that from this arid night there first ofall comes self-knowledge, whence, as from a foundation, rises this otherknowledge of God. For which cause Saint Augustine said to God: 'Let me knowmyself, Lord, and I shall know Thee.'(89) For, as the philosophers say, oneextreme can be well known by another.
6. And in order to prove more completely how efficacious is this night of sense, with its aridity and its desolation,in bringing the soul that light which, as we say, it receives there fromGod, we shall quote that passage of David, wherein he clearly describes thegreat power which is in this night for bringing the soul this lofty knowledgeof God. He says, then, thus: 'In the desert land, waterless, dry and pathless,I appeared before Thee, that I might see Thy virtue and Thy glory.'(90) Itis a wondrous thing that David should say here that the means and the preparationfor his knowledge of the glory of God were not the spiritual delights andthe many pleasures which he had experienced, but the aridities and detachmentsof his sensual nature, which is here to be understood by the dry and desertland. No less wondrous is i t that he should describe as the road to hisperception and vision of the virtue of God, not the Divine meditations andconceptions of which he had often made use, but his being unable to formany conception of God or to walk by meditation produced by imaginaryconsideration, which is here to be understood by the pathless land. So thatthe means to a knowledge of God and of oneself is this dark night with itsaridities and voids, although it leads not to a knowledge of Him of the sameplenitude and abundance that comes from the other night of the spirit, sincethis is only, as it were, the beginning of that other.
7. Likewise, from the aridities and voids of this night of the desire, the soul draws spiritualhumility, which is the contrary virtue to the first capital sin, which, aswe said, is spiritual pride. Through this humility, which is acquired bythe said knowledge of self, the soul is purged from all those imperfectionswhereinto it fell with respect to that sin of pride, in the time of itsprosperity. For it sees itself so dry and miserable that the idea never evenoccurs to it that it is making better progress than others, or outstrippingthem, as it believed itself to be doing before. On the contrary, it recognizesthat others are making better progress than itself.
8. And hence arises the love of its neighbours, for it esteems them, and judges them not as it waswont to do aforetime, when it saw that itself had great fervour and othersnot so. It is aware only of its own wretchedness, which it keeps before itseyes to such an extent that it never forgets it, nor takes occasion to setits eyes on anyone else. This was described wonderfully by David, when hewas in this night, in these words: 'I was dumb and was humbled and kept silencefrom good things and my sorrow was renewed.'(91) This he says because itseemed to him that the good that was in his soul had so completely departedthat not only did he neither speak nor find any language concerning it, butwith respect to the good of others he was likewise dumb because of his griefat the knowledge of his misery.
9. In this condition, again, souls become submissive and obedient upon the spiritual road, for, when they see theirown misery, not only do they hear what is taught them, but they even desirethat anyone soever may set them on the way and tell them what they oughtto do. The affective presumption which they sometimes had in their prosperityis taken from them; and finally, there are swept away from them on this roadall the other imperfections which we noted above with respect to this firstsin, which is spiritual pride.
Of other benefits which this night of sense causes in the soul.
1 WITH respect to the soul's imperfections of spiritual avarice, because ofwhich it coveted this and that spiritual thing and found no satisfactionin this and that exercise by reason of its covetousness for the desire andpleasure which it found therein, this arid and dark night has now greatlyreformed it. For, as it finds not the pleasure and sweetness which it waswont to find, but rather finds affliction and lack of sweetness, it has suchmoderate recourse to them that it might possibly now lose, through defectiveuse, what aforetime it lost through excess; although as a rule God givesto those whom He leads into this night humility and readiness, albeit withlack of sweetness, so that what is commanded them they may do for God's sakealone; and thus they no longer seek profit in many things because they findno pleasure in them.
2. With respect to spiritual luxury, it is likewise clearly seen that, through this aridity and lack of sensible sweetness which the soul finds in spiritual things, it is freed from those impurities whichwe there noted; for we said that, as a rule, they proceeded from the pleasurewhich overflowed from spirit into sense.
3. But with regard to the imperfections from which the soul frees itself in this dark night with respect to the fourthsin, which is spiritual gluttony, they may be found above, though they havenot all been described there, because they are innumerable; and thus I willnot detail them here, for I would fain make an end of this night in orderto pass to the next, concerning which we shall have to pronounce grave wordsand instructions. Let it suffice for the understanding of the innumerablebenefits which, over and above those mentioned, the soul gains in this nightwith respect to this sin of spiritual gluttony, to say that it frees itselffrom all those imperfections which have there been described, and from manyother and greater evils, and vile abominations which are not written above,into which fell many of whom we have had experience, because they had notreformed their desire as concerning this inordinate love of spiritual sweetness.For in this arid and dark night wherein He sets the soul, God has restrainedits concupiscence and curbed its desire so that the soul cannot feed uponany pleasure or sweetness of sense, whether from above or from below; andthis He continues to do after such manner that the soul is subjected, reformedand repressed with respect to concupiscence and desire. It loses the strengthof its passions and concupiscence and it becomes sterile, because it no longerconsults its likings. Just as, when none is accustomed to take milk fromthe breast, the courses of the milk are dried up, so the desires of the soulare dried up. And besides these things there follow admirable benefits fromthis spiritual sobriety, for, when desire and concupiscence are quenched,the soul lives in spiritual tranquillity and peace; for, where desire andconcupiscence reign not, there is no disturbance, but peace and consolationof God.
4. From this there arises another and a second benefit, which isthat the soul habitually has remembrance of God, with fear and dread ofbacksliding upon the spiritual road, as has been said. This is a great benefit,and not one of the least that results from this aridity and purgation ofthe desire, for the soul is purified and cleansed of the imperfections thatwere clinging to it because of the desires and affections, which of theirown accord deaden and darken the soul.
5. There is another very great benefit for the soul in this night, which is that it practices several virtues together,as, for example, patience and longsuffering, which are often called uponin these times of emptiness and aridity, when the soul endures and perseveresin its spiritual exercises without consolation and without pleasure. It practisesthe charity of God, since it is not now moved by the pleasure of attractionand sweetness which it finds in its work, but only by God. It likewise practiseshere the virtue of fortitude, because, in these difficulties and insipiditieswhich it finds in its work, it brings strength out of weakness and thus becomesstrong. All the virtues, in short--the theological and also the cardinaland moral-- both in body and in spirit, are practised by the soul in thesetimes of aridity.
6. And that in this night the soul obtains these four benefits which we have here described (namely, delight of peace, habitual remembranceand thought of God, cleanness and purity of soul and the practice of thevirtues which we have just described), David tells us, having experiencedit himself when he was in this night, in these words: 'My soul refusedconsolations, I had remembrance of God, I found consolation and was exercisedand my spirit failed.'(92) And he then says: 'And I meditated by night withmy heart and was exercised, and I swept and purified my spirit'--that isto say, from all the affections.(93)
7. With respect to the imperfections of the other three spiritual sins which we have described above, which arewrath, envy and sloth, the soul is purged hereof likewise in this aridityof the desire and acquires the virtues opposed to them; for, softened andhumbled by these aridities and hardships and other temptations and trialswherein God exercises it during this night, it becomes meek with respectto God, and to itself, and likewise with respect to its neighbour. So thatit is no longer disturbed and angry with itself because of its own faults,nor with its neighbour because of his, neither is it displeased with God,nor does it utter unseemly complaints because He does not quickly make itholy.
8. Then, as to envy, the soul has charity toward others in this respectalso; for, if it has any envy, this is no longer a vice as it was before,when it was grieved because others were preferred to it and given greateradvantage. Its grief now comes from seeing how great is its own misery, andits envy (if it has any) is a virtuous envy, since it desires to imitateothers, which is great virtue.
9. Neither are the sloth and the irksomeness which it now experiences concerning spiritual things vicious as they werebefore. For in the past these sins proceeded from the spiritual pleasureswhich the soul sometimes experienced and sought after when it found themnot. But this new weariness proceeds not from this insuffficiency of pleasure,because God has taken from the soul pleasure in all things in this purgationof the desire.
10. Besides these benefits which have been mentioned, thesoul attains innumerable others by means of this arid contemplation. Foroften, in the midst of these times of aridity and hardship, God communicatesto the soul, when it is least expecting it, the purest spiritual sweetnessand love, together with a spiritual knowledge which is sometimes very delicate,each manifestation of which is of greater benefit and worth than those whichthe soul enjoyed aforetime; although in its beginnings the soul thinks thatthis is not so, for the spiritual influence now granted to it is very delicateand cannot be perceived by sense.
11. Finally, inasmuch as the soul is nowpurged from the affections and desires of sense, it obtains liberty of spirit,whereby in ever greater degree it gains the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit.Here, too, it is wondrously delivered from the hands of its three enemies--devil,world and flesh; for, its pleasure and delight of sense being quenched withrespect to all things, neither the devil nor the world nor sensuality hasany arms or any strength wherewith to make war upon the spirit.
12. These times of aridity, then, cause the soul to journey in all purity in the loveof God, since it is no longer influenced in its actions by the pleasure andsweetness of the actions themselves, as perchance it was when it experiencedsweetness, but only by a desire to please God. It becomes neither presumptuousnor self-satisfied, as perchance it was wont to become in the time of itsprosperity, but fearful and timid with regard to itself, finding in itselfno satisfaction whatsoever; and herein consists that holy fear which preservesand increases the virtues. This aridity, too, quenches natural energy andconcupiscence, as has also been said. Save for the pleasure, indeed, whichat certain times God Himself infuses into it, it is a wonder if it findspleasure and consolation of sense, through its own diligence, in any spiritualexercise or action, as has already been said.
13. There grows within souls that experience this arid night concern for God and yearnings to serve Him,for in proportion as the breasts of sensuality, wherewith it sustained andnourished the desires that it pursued, are drying up, there remains nothingin that aridity and detachment save the yearning to serve God, which is athing very pleasing to God. For, as David says, an afflicted spirit is asacrifice to God.(94)
14. When the soul, then, knows that, in this arid purgationthrough which it has passed, it has derived and attained so many and suchprecious benefits as those which have here been described, it tarries notin crying, as in the stanza of which we are expounding the lines, 'Oh, happychance!--I went forth without being observed.' That is, 'I went forth' fromthe bonds and subjection of the desires of sense and the affections, 'withoutbeing observed'--that is to say, without the three enemies aforementionedbeing able to keep me from it. These enemies, as we have said, bind the soulas with bonds, in its desires and pleasures, and prevent it from going forthfrom itself to the liberty of the love of God; and without these desiresand pleasures they cannot give battle to the soul, as has been said.
15. When, therefore, the four passions of the soul--which are joy, grief, hopeand fear--are calmed through continual mortification; when the natural desireshave been lulled to sleep, in the sensual nature of the soul, by means ofhabitual times of aridity; and when the harmony of the senses and the interiorfaculties causes a suspension of labour and a cessation from the work ofmeditation, as we have said (which is the dwelling and the household of thelower part of the soul), these enemies cannot obstruct this spiritual liberty,and the house remains at rest and quiet, as says the following line:
My house being now at rest.
Expounds this last line of the first stanza.
1 WHEN this house of sensuality was now at rest--that is, was mortified--itspassions being quenched and its desires put to rest and lulled to sleep bymeans of this blessed night of the purgation of sense, the soul went forth,to set out upon the road and way of the spirit, which is that of progressivesand proficients, and which, by another name, is called the way of illuminationor of infused contemplation, wherein God Himself feeds and refreshes thesoul, without meditation, or the soul's active help. Such, as we have said,is the night and purgation of sense in the soul. In those who have afterwardsto enter the other and more formidable night of the spirit, in order to passto the Divine union of love of God (for not all pass habitually thereto,but only the smallest number), it is wont to be accompanied by formidabletrials and temptations of sense, which last for a long time, albeit longerin some than in others. For to some the angel of Satan presents himself--namely,the spirit of fornication--that he may buffet their senses with abominableand violent temptations, and trouble their spirits with vile considerationsand representations which are most visible to the imagination, which thingsat times are a greater affliction to them than death.
2. At other times in this night there is added to these things the spirit of blasphemy, whichroams abroad, setting in the path of all the conceptions and thoughts ofthe soul intolerable blasphemies. These it sometimes suggests to the imaginationwith such violence that the soul almost utters them, which is a grave tormentto it.
3. At other times another abominable spirit, which Isaias calls Spiritusvertiginis,(95) is allowed to molest them, not in order that they may fall,but that it may try them. This spirit darkens their senses in such a waythat it fills them with numerous scruples and perplexities, so confusingthat, as they judge, they can never, by any means, be satisfied concerningthem, neither can they find any help for their judgment in counsel or thought.This is one of the severest goads and horrors of this night, very closelyakin to that which passes in the night of the spirit.
4. As a rule these storms and trials are sent by God in this night and purgation of sense tothose whom afterwards He purposes to lead into the other night (though notall reach it), to the end that, when they have been chastened and buffeted,they may in this way continually exercise and prepare themselves, and continuallyaccustom their senses and faculties to the union of wisdom which is to bebestowed upon them in that other night. For, if the soul be not tempted,exercised and proved with trials and temptations, it cannot quicken its senseof Wisdom. For this reason it is said in Ecclesiasticus: 'He that has notbeen tempted, what does he know? And he that has not been proved, what arethe things that he recognizes?'(96) To this truth Jeremias bears good witness,saying: 'Thou didst chastise me, Lord, and I was instructed.'(97) And themost proper form of this chastisement, for one who will enter into Wisdom,is that of the interior trials which we are here describing, inasmuch asit is these which most effectively purge sense of all favours and consolationsto which it was affected, with natural weakness, and by which the soul istruly humiliated in preparation for the exaltation which it is to experience.
5. For how long a time the soul will be held in this fasting and penanceof sense, cannot be said with any certainty; for all do not experience itafter one manner, neither do all encounter the same temptations. For thisis meted out by the will of God, in conformity with the greater or the smallerdegree of imperfection which each soul has to purge away. In conformity,likewise, with the degree of love of union to which God is pleased to raiseit, He will humble it with greater or less intensity or in greater or lesstime. Those who have the disposition and greater strength to suffer, He purgeswith greater intensity and more quickly. But those who are very weak arekept for a long time in this night, and these He purges very gently and withslight temptations. Habitually, too, He gives them refreshments of senseso that they may not fall away, and only after a long time do they attainto purity of perfection in this life, some of them never attaining to itat all. Such are neither properly in the night nor properly out of it; for,although they make no progress, yet, in order that they may continue in humilityand self-knowledge, God exercises them for certain periods and at certaintimes(98) in those temptations and aridities; and at other times and seasonsHe assists them with consolations, lest they should grow faint and returnto seek the consolations of the world. Other souls, which are weaker, GodHimself accompanies, now appearing to them, now moving farther away, thatHe may exercise them in His love; for without such turnings away they wouldnot learn to reach God.
6. But the souls which are to pass on to that happyand high estate, the union of love, are wont as a rule to remain for a longtime in these aridities and temptations, however quickly God may lead them,as has been seen by experience. It is time, then, to begin to treat of thesecond night.
(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) DarkNight, 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 MountCarmel (Image Books edition). (15) (It contains a series of paradoxicalstatements, after the style of those in Ascent, Bk. I, chap. xiii, and isof 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 deJesus, who was senior to St. John of the Cross in the Carmelite Order, thoughnot 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) Mt 14 (20) (More exactly: 'purificative.')(21) Lc 18,11-12. (22) Mt 7,3. (23) Mt 23,24.(24) (Lit., 'Presuming.') (25) (The ori ginal merely has: 'and are ofteneager.') (26) (Lit., 'a thousand envies and disquietudes.') (27) Mt 25,8. (Lit., 'who, having their lamps dead, sought oil from without.')(28) (Lit., 'to have.') (29) (Lit., 'these fervours.') (30) (Lit., 'intosomething of this.') (31) The agnusdei was a wax medal with a representationof the lamb stamped upon it, often blessed by the Pope; at the time of theSaint such medals were greatly sought after, as we know from various referencesin St. Teresa's letters. (32) (The word nomina, translated 'token,' and normallymeaning list, or 'roll,' refers to a relic on which were written the namesof saints. In modern Spanish it can denote a medal or amulet usedsuperstitiously.) (33) (No doubt a branch of palm, olive or rosemary, blessedin church on Palm Sunday, like the English palm crosses of to-day. 'PalmSunday' is in Spanish Domingo de ramos: '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 learnedexplanations of it, though in reality there is little that needs to be addedto the Saint's clear and apt exposition. It will be remembered that St. Teresaonce wrote to her brother Lorenzo, who suffered in this way: 'As to thosestirrings of sense. . . . I am quite clear they are of no account, so thebest thing is to make no account of them' (LL. 168). The most effective meansof calming souls tormented by these favours is to commend them to a discreetand wise director whose counsel they may safely follow. The Illuminists committedthe grossest errors in dealing with this matter. (38) Jn 3,6 (39)(Lit. 'they even do it.') (40) (Lit., 'spiritual road.') (41) (Lit., 'thesepersons.') (42) (Lit., 'and treat this as their God.') (43) (The Spanishis impersonal: 'immediately this is taken from them,' etc.) (44) (Lit., 'andopinion.') (45) (Lit., 'anyhow.') (46) (Lit, 'the other boldnesses are.')(47) (Lit., 'they strive to obtain this, as they say, by the strength oftheir arms.' The phrase is, of course, understood in the Spanish to bemetaphorical, as the words 'as they say' clearly indicate.) (48) (Lit., 'whoare 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 themto enter.') (53) (Lit., 'and, as they say, their eye (el ojo) grows'--acolloquial phrase expressing annoyance.) (54) 1 Corinthians xiii, 6. TheSaint here cites the sense, not the letter, of the epistle. (55) Mt 16,25. (56) (Lit., 'they are very weak for the fortitude and trial of perfection.') (57) Mt 7,14. (58) (Lit., 'say.') (59) (Lit., 'say.')(60) (plAtica: the word is frequently used in Spanish to denote an informalsermon or address.) (61) (Lit., 'low'; the same word recurs below and issimilarly translated .) (62) (Lit., 'to the better time.') (63) (Lit., 'Andin this it is known very probably.') (64) Nb 11,5-6 (65) (Lit., 'makesus to desire our miseries.') (66) (Lit., 'incommunicable.') (67) Ct 6,4 (A.V., vi, 5). (68) (Lit., 'satisfactory and pacific.') (69) Ps 77,9 (A.V., lxxxv, 8). (70) (The stress here is evidently on the transienceof the distempers whether they be moral or physical.) (71) (Lit., 'spoilingthemselves in the one.') (72) (Lit., 'because they seek their spirit.') (73)(Lit., 'without doing anything themselves.') (74) (Lit., 'which it may thenwish to have.') (75) Ps 62,21 (A.V., lxxiii, 21-2). (76) (Lit.,'livingness': cf. the quotation below.) (77) Ps 42,3 (A.V., xlii, 2).(78) (Lit., 'and chance': the same word as in the verse-line above.) (79)Mt 8,14. (80) Gn 21,8 (81) Ex 33,5 (82) (Jb 2,7-8). (83) (Lit., 'the deep heights.') (84) Is 44,10 (85) Is 24,19 (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), whichis also found in P. Gerardo and elsewhere, as como Dios. (87) Is 28,9.(88) Ha 2,1 (89) St. Augustine: Soliloq., Cap. ii. (90) Ps 62,3 (A.V., lxiii, 1-2). (91) Ps 28,3 (A.V., xxxix, 2). (92)Ps 68,4 (A.V., lxxvii, 3-4). (93) Ps 77,7 (A.V., lxxvii, 6).(94) (A.V., li, 17) (95) (The 'spirit of giddiness' of D.V.,and 'perverse spirit' of A.V., Is 19,14) (96) Qo 34,9-10. (97) Jr 31,18. (98) (Lit., 'for certain days.') (99) (Lit., 'from a narrow prison.')
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