** A Christian Classic **
** Active Table of Contents **
Dark Night of the Soul comes complete with a Touch-or-Click Table of Contents, divided by each section.
Dark Night of the Soul is the title of a poem written by 16th-century Spanish poet and Roman Catholic mystic Saint John of the Cross, as well as of a treatise he wrote later, commenting on the poem.
Saint John of the Cross was a Carmelite priest. His poem narrates the journey of the soul from its bodily home to its union with God. The journey occurs during the night, which represents the hardships and difficulties the soul meets in detachment from the world and reaching the light of the union with the Creator. There are several steps in this night, which are related in successive stanzas.
The main idea of the poem can be seen as the painful experience that people endure as they seek to grow in spiritual maturity and union with God. The poem is divided into two books that reflect the two phases of the dark night. The first is a purification of the senses.
The second and more intense of the two stages is that of the purification of the spirit, which is the less common of the two. Dark Night of the Soul further describes the ten steps on the ladder of mystical love, previously described by Saint Thomas Aquinas and in part by Aristotle. The text was written while John of the Cross was imprisoned by his Carmelite brothers, who opposed his reformations to the Order.
The treatise, written later, is a theological commentary on the poem, explaining its meaning by stanza.
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