Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dark Night of the Soul

I'm not a serial reader and I'll bet some of you can relate. I'm reading three books right now: one in the mornings, one at bedtime, and one to fill in the gaps.

My morning book this month is Dark Night of the Soul by John of the Cross.

Sounds like a horror-thriller, doesn't it?

John tackles an amazing exposition of the imperfection of beginners - those who are just stepping onto their spiritual path - and holds out a picture of spiritual discipline that ought to challenge all of us.

He describes how to delight the soul in prayer and Divine things. But more fascinating to me is how he exposes the beginners.

Here's an example:

As these beginners feel themselves to be very fervent and diligent in spiritual things and devout exercises, from this prosperity (although it is true that holy things of their own nature cause humility) there often comes to them, through their imperfections, a certain kind of secret pride, whence they come to have some degree of satisfaction with their works and with themselves.
It's fascinating to me that those spiritual things that bring us joy can cause either humility or pride. That's the plight of the beginner, who might get sidetracked with this secret pride.

John has a lot more to say to beginners. And I'm wondering if most of us today are beginners, thinking we have a clue spiritually when we are actually indulging our own nature.

This is an insightful book that I'd encourage you to take a look at. You can read it online here.

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