John, Dark night 1 6


Of imperfections with respect to spiritual gluttony.

1 WITH respect to the fourth sin, which is spiritual gluttony, there is muchto be said, for there is scarce one of these beginners who, however satisfactoryhis progress, falls not into some of the many imperfections which come tothese beginners with respect to this sin, on account of the sweetness whichthey find at first in spiritual exercises. For many of these, lured by thesweetness and pleasure which they find in such exercises, strive more afterspiritual sweetness than after spiritual purity and discretion, which isthat which God regards and accepts throughout the spiritual journey.(40)Therefore, besides the imperfections into which the seeking for sweetnessof this kind makes them fall, the gluttony which they now have makes themcontinually go to extremes, so that they pass beyond the limits of moderationwithin which the virtues are acquired and wherein they have their being.For some of these persons, attracted by the pleasure which they find therein,kill themselves with penances, and others weaken themselves with fasts, byperforming more than their frailty can bear, without the order or adviceof any, but rather endeavouring to avoid those whom they should obey in thesematters; some, indeed, dare to do these things even though the contrary hasbeen commanded them.

2. These persons are most imperfect and unreasonable;for they set bodily penance before subjection and obedience, which is penanceaccording to reason and discretion, and therefore a sacrifice more acceptableand pleasing to God than any other. But such one-sided penance is no morethan the penance of beasts, to which they are attracted, exactly like beasts,by the desire and pleasure which they find therein. Inasmuch as all extremesare vicious, and as in behaving thus such persons(41) are working their ownwill, they grow in vice rather than in virtue; for, to say the least, theyare acquiring spiritual gluttony and pride in this way, through not walkingin obedience. And many of these the devil assails, stirring up this gluttonyin them through the pleasures and desires which he increases within them,to such an extent that, since they can no longer help themselves, they eitherchange or vary or add to that which is commanded them, as any obedience inthis respect is so bitter to them. To such an evil pass have some personscome that, simply because it is through obedience that they engage in theseexercises, they lose the desire and devotion to perform them, their onlydesire and pleasure being to do what they themselves are inclined to do,so that it would probably be more profitable for them not to engage in theseexercises at all.

3. You will find that many of these persons are very insistentwith their spiritual masters to be granted that which they desire, extractingit from them almost by force; if they be refused it they become as peevishas children and go about in great displeasure, thinking that they are notserving God when they are not allowed to do that which they would. For theygo about clinging to their own will and pleasure, which they treat as thoughit came from God;(42) and immediately their directors(43) take it from them,and try to subject them to the will of God, they become peevish, growfaint-hearted and fall away. These persons think that their own satisfactionand pleasure are the satisfaction and service of God.

4. There are others, again, who, because of this gluttony, know so little of their own unworthinessand misery and have thrust so far from them the loving fear and reverencewhich they owe to the greatness of God, that they hesitate not to insistcontinually that their confessors shall allow them to communicate often.And, what is worse, they frequently dare to communicate without the leaveand consent(44) of the minister and steward of Christ, merely acting on theirown opinion, and contriving to conceal the truth from him. And for this reason,because they desire to communicate continually, they make their confessionscarelessly,(45) being more eager to eat than to eat cleanly and perfectly,although it would be healthier and holier for them had they the contraryinclination and begged their confessors not to command them to approach thealtar so frequently: between these two extremes, however, the better wayis that of humble resignation. But the boldness referred to is(46) a thingthat does great harm, and men may fear to be punished for such temerity.

5. These persons, in communicating, strive with every nerve to obtain somekind of sensible sweetness and pleasure, instead of humbly doing reverenceand giving praise within themselves to God. And in such wise do they devotethemselves to this that, when they have received no pleasure or sweetnessin the senses, they think that they have accomplished nothing at all. Thisis to judge God very unworthily; they have not realized that the least ofthe benefits which come from this Most Holy Sacrament is that which concernsthe senses; and that the invisible part of the grace that it bestows is muchgreater; for, in order that they may look at it with the eyes of faith, Godoftentimes withholds from them these other consolations and sweetnesses ofsense. And thus they desire to feel and taste God as though He werecomprehensible by them and accessible to them, not only in this, but likewisein other spiritual practices. All this is very great imperfection and completelyopposed to the nature of God, since it is Impurity in faith.

6. These persons have the same defect as regards the practice of prayer, for they think thatall the business of prayer consists in experiencing sensible pleasure anddevotion and they strive to obtain this by great effort,(47) wearying andfatiguing their faculties and their heads; and when they have not found thispleasure they become greatly discouraged, thinking that they have accomplishednothing. Through these efforts they lose true devotion and spirituality,which consist in perseverance, together with patience and humility and mistrustof themselves, that they may please God alone. For this reason, when theyhave once failed to find pleasure in this or some other exercise, they havegreat disinclination and repugnance to return to it, and at times they abandonit. They are, in fact, as we have said, like children, who are not influencedby reason, and who act, not from rational motives, but from inclination.(48)Such persons expend all their effort in seeking spiritual pleasure andconsolation; they never tire therefore, of reading books; and they begin,now one meditation, now another, in their pursuit of this pleasure whichthey desire to experience in the things of God. But God, very justly, wiselyand lovingly, denies it to them, for otherwise this spiritual gluttony andinordinate appetite would breed in numerable evils. It is, therefore, veryfitting that they should enter into the dark night, whereof we shall speak,(49)that they may be purged from this childishness.

7. These persons who are thus inclined to such pleasures have another very great imperfection, whichis that they are very weak and remiss in journeying upon the hard(50) roadof the Cross; for the soul that is given to sweetness naturally has its faceset against all self-denial, which is devoid of sweetness.(51) 8. These personshave many other imperfections which arise hence, of which in time the Lordheals them by means of temptations, aridities and other trials, all of whichare part of the dark night. All these I will not treat further here, lestI become too lengthy; I will only say that spiritual temperance and sobrietylead to another and a very different temper, which is that of mortification,fear and submission in all things. It thus becomes clear that the perfectionand worth of things consist not in the multitude and the pleasantness ofone's actions, but in being able to deny oneself in them; this such personsmust endeavour to compass, in so far as they may, until God is pleased topurify them indeed, by bringing them(52) into the dark night, to arrive atwhich I am hastening on with my account of these imperfections.


Of imperfections with respect to spiritual envy and sloth.

1 WITH respect likewise to the other two vices, which are spiritual envy andsloth, these beginners fail not to have many imperfections. For, with respectto envy, many of them are wont to experience movements of displeasure atthe spiritual good of others, which cause them a certain sensible grief atbeing outstripped upon this road, so that they would prefer not to hear otherspraised; for they become displeased at others' virtues and sometimes theycannot refrain from contradicting what is said in praise of them, depreciatingit as far as they can; and their annoyance thereat grows(53) because thesame is not said of them, for they would fain be preferred in everything.All this is clean contrary to charity, which, as Saint Paul says, rejoicesin goodness.(54) And, if charity has any envy, it is a holy envy, comprisinggrief at not having the virtues of others, yet also joy because others havethem, and delight when others outstrip us in the service of God, whereinwe ourselves are so remiss.

2. With respect also to spiritual sloth, beginners are apt to be irked by the things that are most spiritual, from which they flee because these things are incompatible with sensible pleasure. For, asthey are so much accustomed to sweetness in sp iritual things, they are weariedby things in which they find no sweetness. If once they failed to find inprayer the satisfaction which their taste required (and after all it is wellthat God should take it from them to prove them), they would prefer not toreturn to it: sometimes they leave it; at other times they continue itunwillingly. And thus because of this sloth they abandon the way of perfection(which is the way of the negation of their will and pleasure for God's sake)for the pleasure and sweetness of their own will, which they aim at satisfyingin this way rather than the will of God.

3. And many of these would have God will that which they themselves will, and are fretful at having to willthat which He wills, and find it repugnant to accommodate their will to thatof God. Hence it happens to them that oftentimes they think that that whereinthey find not their own will and pleasure is not the will of God; and that,on the other hand, when they themselves find satisfaction, God is satisfied.Thus they measure God by themselves and not themselves by God, acting quitecontrarily to that which He Himself taught in the Gospel, saying: That hewho should lose his will for His sake, the same should gain it; and he whoshould desire to gain it, the same should lose it.(55)

4. These persons likewise find it irksome when they are commanded to do that wherein they take no pleasure.Because they aim at spiritual sweetness and consolation, they are too weakto have the fortitude and bear the trials of perfection.(56) They resemblethose who are softly nurtured and who run fretfully away from everythingthat is hard, and take offense at the Cross, wherein consist the delightsof the spirit. The more spiritual a thing is, the more irksome they findit, for, as they seek to go about spiritual matters with complete freedomand according to the inclination of their will, it causes them great sorrowand repugnance to enter upon the narrow way, which, says Christ, is the wayof life.(57)

5. Let it suffice here to have described these imperfections,among the many to be found in the lives of those that are in this first stateof beginners, so that it may be seen how greatly they need God to set themin the state of proficients. This He does by bringing them into the darknight whereof we now speak; wherein He weans them from the breasts of thesesweetnesses and pleasures, gives them pure aridities and inward darkness,takes from them all these irrelevances and puerilities, and by very differentmeans causes them to win the virtues. For, however assiduously the beginnerpractises the mortification in himself of all these actions and passionsof his, he can never completely succeed--very far from it--until God shallwork it in him passively by means of the purgation of the said night. Ofthis I would fain speak in some way that may be profitable; may God, then,be pleased to give me His Divine light, because this is very needful in anight that is so dark and a matter that is so difficult to describe and toexpound. The line, then, is:

In a dark night.


Wherein is expounded the first line of the first stanza, and a beginningis made of the explanation of this dark night.

1 THIS night, which, as we say, is contemplation, produces in spiritual personstwo kinds of darkness or purgation, corresponding to the two parts of man'snature--namely, the sensual and the spiritual. And thus the one night orpurgation will be sensual, wherein the soul is purged according to sense,which is subdued to the spirit; and the other is a night or purgation whichis spiritual, wherein the soul is purged and stripped according to the spirit,and subdued and made ready for the union of love with God. The night of senseis common and comes to many: these are the beginners; and of this night weshall speak first. The night of the spirit is the portion of very few, andthese are they that are already practised and proficient, of whom we shalltreat hereafter.

2. The first purgation or night is bitter and terrible tosense, as we shall now show.(58) The second bears no comparison with it,for it is horrible and awful to the spirit, as we shall show(59) presently.Since the night of sense is first in order and comes first, we shall firstof all say something about it briefly, since more is written of it, as ofa thing that is more common; and we shall pass on to treat more fully ofthe spiritual night, since very little has been said of this, either inspeech(60) or in writing, and very little is known of it, even by experience.

3. Since, then, the conduct of these beginners upon the way of God isignoble,(61) and has much to do with their love of self and their owninclinations, as has been explained above, God desires to lead them farther.He seeks to bring them out of that ignoble kind of love to a higher degreeof love for Him, to free them from the ignoble exercises of sense and meditation(wherewith, as we have said, they go seeking God so unworthily and in somany ways that are unbefitting), and to lead them to a kind of spiritualexercise wherein they can commune with Him more abundantly and are freedmore completely from imperfections. For they have now had practice for sometime in the way of virtue and have persevered in meditation and prayer, whereby,through the sweetness and pleasure that they have found therein, they havelost their love of the things of the world and have gained some degree ofspiritual strength in God; this has enabled them to some extent to refrainfrom creature desires, so that for God's sake they are now able to suffera light burden and a little aridity without turning back to a time(62) whichthey found more pleasant. When they are going about these spiritual exerciseswith the greatest delight and pleasure, and when they believe that the sunof Divine favour is shining most brightly upon them, God turns all this lightof theirs into darkness, and shuts against them the door and the source ofthe sweet spiritual water which they were tasting in God whensoever and foras long as they desired. (For, as they were weak and tender, there was nodoor closed to them, as Saint John says in the Apocalypse, iii, 8). And thusHe leaves them so completely in the dark that they know not whither to gowith their sensible imagination and meditation; for they cannot advance astep in meditation, as they were wont to do afore time, their inward sensesbeing submerged in this night, and left with such dryness that not only dothey experience no pleasure and consolation in the spiritual things and goodexercises wherein they were wont to find their delights and pleasures, butinstead, on the contrary, they find insipidity and bitterness in the saidthings. For, as I have said, God now sees that they have grown a little,and are becoming strong enough to lay aside their swaddling clothes and betaken from the gentle breast; so He sets them down from His arms and teachesthem to walk on their own feet; which they feel to be very strange, foreverything seems to be going wrong with them.

4. To recollected persons this commonly happens sooner after their beginnings than to others, inasmuch asthey are freer from occasions of backsliding, and their desires turn morequickly from the things of the world, which is necessary if they are to beginto enter this blessed night of sense. Ordinarily no great time passes aftertheir beginnings before they begin to enter this night of sense; and thegreat majority of them do in fact enter it, for they will generally be seento fall into these aridities. 5. With regard to this way of purgation ofthe senses, since it is so common, we might here adduce a great number ofquotations from Divine Scripture, where many passages relating to it arecontinually found, particularly in the Psalms and the Prophets. However,I do not wish to spend time upon these, for he who knows not how to lookfor them there will find the common experience of this purgation to besufficient.


Of the signs by which it will be known that the spiritual person is walkingalong the way of this night and purgation of sense.

1 BUT since these aridities might frequently proceed, not from the night andpurgation of the sensual desires aforementioned, but from sins and imperfections,or from weakness and lukewarmness, or from some bad humour or indispositionof the body, I shall here set down certain signs by which it may be knownif such aridity proceeds from the aforementioned purgation, or if it arisesfrom any of the aforementioned sins. For the making of this distinction Ifind that there are three principal signs.

2. The first is whether, when a soul finds no pleasure or consolation in the things of God, it also failsto find it in any thing created; for, as God sets the soul in this dark nightto the end that He may quench and purge its sensual desire, He allows itnot to find attraction or sweetness in anything whatsoever. In such a caseit may be considered very probable(63) that this aridity and insipidity proceednot from recently committed sins or imperfections. For, if this were so,the soul would feel in its nature some inclination or desire to taste otherthings than those of God; since, whenever the desire is allowed indulgencein any imperfection, it immediately feels inclined thereto, whether littleor much, in proportion to the pleasure and the love that it has put intoit. Since, however, this lack of enjoyment in things above or below mightproceed from some indisposition or melancholy humour, which oftentimes makesit impossible for the soul to take pleasure in anything, it becomes necessaryto apply the second sign and condition.

3. The second sign whereby a man may believe himself to be experiencing the said purgation is that the memoryis ordinarily centred upon God, with painful care and solicitude, thinkingthat it is not serv ing God, but is backsliding, because it finds itselfwithout sweetness in the things of God. And in such a case it is evidentthat this lack of sweetness and this aridity come not from weakness andlukewarmness; for it is the nature of lukewarmness not to care greatly orto have any inward solicitude for the things of God. There is thus a greatdifference between aridity and lukewarmness, for lukewarmness consists ingreat weakness and remissness in the will and in the spirit, without solicitudeas to serving God; whereas purgative aridity is ordinarily accompanied bysolicitude, with care and grief as I say, because the soul is not servingGod. And, although this may sometimes be increased by melancholy or someother humour (as it frequently is), it fails not for that reason to producea purgative effect upon the desire, since the desire is deprived of all pleasureand has its care centred upon God alone. For, when mere humour is the cause,it spends itself in displeasure and ruin of the physical nature, and thereare none of those desires to sense God which belong to purgative aridity.When the cause is aridity, it is true that the sensual part of the soul hasfallen low, and is weak and feeble in its actions, by reason of the littlepleasure which it finds in them; but the spirit, on the other hand, is readyand strong.

4. For the cause of this aridity is that God transfers to thespirit the good things and the strength of the senses, which, since the soul'snatural strength and senses are incapable of using them, remain barren, dryand empty. For the sensual part of a man has no capacity for that which ispure spirit, and thus, when it is the spirit that receives the pleasure,the flesh is left without savour and is too weak to perform any action. Butthe spirit, which all the time is being fed, goes forward in strength, andwith more alertness and solicitude than before, in its anxiety not to failGod; and if it is not immediately conscious of spiritual sweetness and delight,but only of aridity and lack of sweetness, the reason for this is the strangenessof the exchange; for its palate has been accustomed to those other sensualpleasures upon which its eyes are still fixed, and, since the spiritual palateis not made ready or purged for such subtle pleasure, until it finds itselfbecoming prepared for it by means of this arid and dark night, it cannotexperience spiritual pleasure and good, but only aridity and lack of sweetness,since it misses the pleasure which aforetime it enjoyed so readily.

5. These souls whom God is beginning to lead through these solitary places of thewilderness are like to the children of Israel, to whom in the wildernessGod began to give food from Heaven, containing within itself all sweetness,and, as is there said, it turned to the savour which each one of them desired.But withal the children of Israel felt the lack of the pleasures and delightsof the flesh and the onions which they had eaten aforetime in Egypt, themore so because their palate was accustomed to these and took delight inthem, rather than in the delicate sweetness of the angelic manna; and theywept and sighed for the fleshpots even in the midst of the food of Heaven.(64)To such depths does the vileness of our desires descend that it makes usto long for our own wretched food(65) and to be nauseated by theindescribable(66) blessings of Heaven.

6. But, as I say, when these aridities proceed from the way of the purgation of sensual desire, although at firstthe spirit feels no sweetness, for the reasons that we have just given, itfeels that it is deriving strength and energy to act from the substance whichthis inward food gives it, the which food is the beginning of a contemplationthat is dark and arid to the senses; which contemplation is secret and hiddenfrom the very person that experiences it; and ordinarily, together with thearidity and emptiness which it causes in the senses, it gives the soul aninclination and desire to be alone and in quietness, without being able tothink of any particular thing or having the desire to do so. If those soulsto whom this comes to pass knew how to be quiet at this time, and troublednot about performing any kind of action, whether inward or outward, neitherhad any anxiety about doing anything, then they would delicately experiencethis inward refreshment in that ease and freedom from care. So delicate isthis refreshment that ordinarily, if a man have desire or care to experienceit, he experiences it not; for, as I say, it does its work when the soulis most at ease and freest from care; it is like the air which, if one wouldclose one's hand upon it, escapes.

7. In this sense we may understand that which the Spouse said to the Bride in the Songs, namely: 'Withdraw thineeyes from me, for they make me to soar aloft.'(67) For in such a way doesGod bring the soul into this state, and by so different a path does He leadit that, if it desires to work with its faculties, it hinders the work whichGod is doing in it rather than aids it; whereas aforetime it was quite thecontrary. The reason is that, in this state of contemplation, which the soulenters when it forsakes meditation for the state of the proficient, it isGod Who is now working in the soul; He binds its interior faculties, andallows it not to cling to the understanding, nor to have delight in the will,nor to reason with the memory. For anything that the soul can do of its ownaccord at this time serves only, as we have said, to hinder inward peaceand the work which God is accomplishing in the spirit by means of that aridityof sense. And this peace, being spiritual and delicate, performs a work whichis quiet and delicate, solitary, productive of peace and satisfaction(68)and far removed from all those earlier pleasures, which were very palpableand sensual. This is the peace which, says David, God speaks in the soulto the end that He may make it spiritual.(69) And this leads us to the thirdpoint.

8. The third sign whereby this purgation of sense may be recognizedis that the soul can no longer meditate or reflect in the imaginative sphereof sense as it was wont, however much it may of itself endeavour to do so.For God now begins to communicate Himself to it, no longer through sense,as He did aforetime, by means of reflections which joined and sundered itsknowledge, but by pure spirit, into which consecutive reflections enter not;but He communicates Himself to it by an act of simple contemplation, to whichneither the exterior nor the interior senses of the lower part of the soulcan attain. From this time forward, therefore, imagination and fancy canfind no support in any meditation, and can gain no foothold by means thereof.

9. With regard to this third sign, it is to be understood that this embarrassmentand dissatisfaction of the faculties proceed not from indisposition, for,when this is the case, and the indisposition, which never lasts for long,(70)comes to an end, the soul is able once again, by taking some trouble aboutthe matter, to do what it did before, and the faculties find their wontedsupport. But in the purgation of the desire this is not so: when once thesoul begins to enter therein, its inability to reflect with the facultiesgrows ever greater. For, although it is true that at first, and with somepersons, the process is not as continuous as this, so that occasionally theyfail to abandon their pleasures and reflections of sense (for perchance byreason of their weakness it was not fitting to wean them from these immediately),yet this inability grows within them more and more and brings the workingsof sense to an end, if indeed they are to make progress, for those who walknot in the way of contemplation act very differently. For this night of ariditiesis not usually continuous in their senses. At times they have these aridities;at others they have them not. At times they cannot meditate; at others theycan. For God sets them in this night only to prove them and to humble them,and to reform their desires, so that they go not nurturing in themselvesa sinful gluttony in spiritual things. He sets them not there in order tolead them in the way of the spirit, which is this contemplation; for notall those who walk of set purpose in the way of the spirit are brought byGod to contemplation, nor even the half of them--why, He best knows. Andthis is why He never completely weans the senses of such persons from thebreasts of meditations and reflections, but only for short periods and atcertain seasons, as we have said.


Of the way in which these souls are to conduct themselves in this dark night.

1 DURING the time, then, of the aridities of this night of sense (wherein Godeffects the change of which we have spoken above, drawing forth the soulfrom the life of sense into that of the spirit--that is, from meditationto contemplation--wherein it no longer has any power to work or to reasonwith its faculties concerning the things of God, as has been said), spiritualpersons suffer great trials, by reason not so much of the aridities whichthey suffer, as of the fear which they have of being lost on the road, thinkingthat all spiritual blessing is over for them and that God has abandoned themsince they find no help or pleasure in good things. Then they grow weary,and endeavour (as they have been accustomed to do) to concentrate their facultieswith some degree of pleasure upon some object of meditation, thinking that,when they are not doing this and yet are conscious of making an effort, theyare doing nothing. This effort they make not without great inward repugnanceand unwillingness on the part of their soul, which was taking pleasure inbeing in that quietness and ease, instead of working with its faculties.So they have abandoned the one pursuit,(71) yet draw no profit from the other;for, by seeking what is prompted by their own spirit,(72) they lose the spirit of tranquillity and peace which they had before. And thus they are liketo one who abandons what he has done in order to do it over again, or toone who leaves a city only to re- enter it, or to one who is hunting andlets his prey go in order to hunt it once more. This is useless here, forthe soul will gain nothing further by conducting itself in this way, as hasbeen said.

2. These souls turn back at such a time if there is none whounderstands them; they abandon the road or lose courage; or, at the least,they are hindered from going farther by the great trouble which they takein advancing along the road of meditation and reasoning. Thus they fatigueand overwork their nature, imagining that they are failing through negligenceor sin. But this trouble that they are taking is quite useless, for God isnow leading them by another road, which is that of contemplation, and isvery different from the first; for the one is of meditation and reasoning,and the other belongs neither to imagination nor yet to reasoning.

3. It is well for those who find themselves in this condition to take comfort,to persevere in patience and to be in no wise afflicted. Let them trust inGod, Who abandons not those that seek Him with a simple and right heart,and will not fail to give them what is needful for the road, until He bringthem into the clear and pure light of love. This last He will give them bymeans of that other dark night, that of the spirit, if they merit His bringingthem thereto.

4. The way in which they are to conduct themselves in thisnight of sense is to devote themselves not at all to reasoning and meditation,since this is not the time for it, but to allow the soul to remain in peaceand quietness, although it may seem clear to them that they are doing nothingand are wasting their time, and although it may appear to them that it isbecause of their weakness that they have no desire in that state to thinkof anything. The truth is that they will be doing quite sufficient if theyhave patience and persevere in prayer without making any effort.(73) Whatthey must do is merely to leave the soul free and disencumbered and at restfrom all knowledge and thought, troubling not themselves, in that state,about what they shall think or meditate upon, but contenting themselves withmerely a peaceful and loving attentiveness toward God, and in being withoutanxiety, without the ability and without desired to have experience of Himor to perceive Him. For all these yearnings disquiet and distract the soulfrom the peaceful quiet and sweet ease of contemplation which is here grantedto it.

5. And although further scruples may come to them--that they are wastingtheir time, and that it would be well for them to do something else, becausethey can neither do nor think anything in prayer--let them suffer these scruplesand remain in peace, as there is no question save of their being at easeand having freedom of spirit. For if such a soul should desire to make anyeffort of its own with its interior faculties, this means that it will hinderand lose the blessings which, by means of that peace and ease of the soul,God is instilling into it and impressing upon it. It is just as if some painterwere painting or dyeing a face; if the sitter were to move because he desiredto do something, he would prevent the painter from accomplishing anythingand would disturb him in what he was doing. And thus, when the soul desiresto remain in inward ease and peace, any operation and affection or attentionswherein it may then seek to indulge(74) will distract it and disquiet itand make it conscious of aridity and emptiness of sense. For the more a soulendeavours to find support in affection and knowledge, the more will it feelthe lack of these, which cannot now be supplied to it upon that road.

6. Wherefore it behoves such a soul to pay no heed if the operations of itsfaculties become lost to it; it is rather to desire that this should happenquickly. For, by not hindering the operation of infused contemplation thatGod is bestowing upon it, it can receive this with more peaceful abundance,and cause its spirit to be enkindled and to burn with the love which thisdark and secret contemplation brings with it and sets firmly in the soul.For contemplation is naught else than a secret, peaceful and loving infusionfrom God, which, if it be permitted, enkindles the soul with the spirit oflove, according as the soul declares in the next lines, namely:

Kindled in love with yearnings.

John, Dark night 1 6