I just read St. John’s Dark Night of the Soul.
It is an inspiring read and instills hope. But it only adds to the already heaping book stack of “what we should do”, and is not a real personal road map of experience, what man really needs. A “My” dark night would have been a better prefix, and would perk up our ears a little better. A “How I stumbled, and what I did to recover” chapter would have been nice.
It also never investigates the exceptional cases and various plights of those who are by choice of life destined to be legitimately immersed in the sensual. What comes to mind are those in marriage who are to express sexually their obligations, and how much the instrument of the sense plays in importance in the marriage. Marriage being one, there are probably many more cases. The point is, here there is no option but to retain the sensual through the first night, and the soul can not be purged of it, at least if one were to retain some semblance of a normal marriage. Given that lost chapter I mentioned, we would see the struggling John, and perhaps he would have some advice.
One comes away with the feeling John’s position simplified his journey through the dark. Reading what is called for success, how well we see it coincidentally suits a cloistered environment, with it’s lessor distractions, and the ready to inspire members (eventually) of a like endeavor. St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises still recommend a similar environment and methodology. I don’t think the intent is to deliberately select candidates who are in a favorable position to embark on the exercises, but the recommended environment we continually find them in says so. One would think the statistics would show a great proportion of those who had made the journey had come from that pool of candidates who managed to come from this environment, who’s to say. I don’t fault John. If he hadn’t gone through this extensive elucubration we would suffer a great loss of knowledge.
Last but not least, there remains the factor of the Human Christ. His personal dark night of sense had at least one stumble. Either he was exempt from the processes and phases that would set him back a notch, or he did stumble on occasion in his passions, ready to resume again from this failed point onward. I speak of his anger at the money changers, or, fear in the garden. There may be something I’m missing here which I don’t understand.
On conclusion the book is indeed inspiring and John’s personal revelations will still help me to understand the mechanism of the soul. I had not known there was such an interplay involved with it.
I look around at my environment and wish it were the same. Today I think I witnessed two hip hugger “butt” jeans, and a “G” string, and the lady at the store could just a well have worn just a bra. I could readily select from any number of sexually explicit tv programs. My point is this is a typical environment today as we move closer to the end times. It would be a great help for once to get inspired by one of us, one who eventually has been chosen for that marvelous election and knows our problems and understands our situation. John had none of this situation. He was wrapped in a society that was very religious. The women clothed to the neck and for the most part set on domestic responsibilities. There was a climate of traditionalism much more than the remnant we see today. Purging of the souls first night sensual trappings is much less of a task than it would be today.
We need a “This is how I solved it” Saint for our times. Not a work based in the third person, rather, one of personal experience would be a great help.
BTW: Peers edition is more distracting than a help in MHO.