The Dark Night of the Soul

    “Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover, Lover transformed in the Beloved!”—The famous poem about union of the soul with Christ. Part 1 of “The Ascent of the Soul.”

    A hymn by St. John of the Cross

    November 15, 2021, 11:00 am
    Part of the series “The Ascent of the Soul.” Picture: “Saint Theonas as Hermit,” Boëtius Adamsz. Bolswert, 1619.

    On a dark night, kindled in love with yearnings—oh, happy chance!—I went forth without being observed, My house being now at rest.

    In darkness and secure, By the secret ladder, disguised—oh, happy chance!—In darkness and in concealment, My house being now at rest.

    In the happy night, In secret, when none saw me, nor I beheld aught, Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart.

    This light guided me More surely than the light of noonday, to the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me—a place where none appeared.

    Oh, night that guided me, oh, night more lovely than the dawn, oh, night that joined Beloved with lover, Lover transformed in the Beloved!

    Upon my flowery breast, Kept wholly for himself alone, there he stayed sleeping, and I caressed him, And the fanning of the cedars made a breeze.

    The breeze blew from the turret As I parted his locks; with his gentle hand he wounded my neck And caused all my senses to be suspended.

    I remained, lost in oblivion; My face I reclined on the Beloved. All ceased and I abandoned myself, Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.

    Quaerere Deum, invenire beatidudinem

    Eternal life is to know God. That is beatitude, the Saints say. Put another way, when you are with God, your life will become infinitely full. However, what does this look like in practice? Can genuine happiness really be achieved in everyday life? These are the questions underlying the Giskim Project's publications. Learn more by reading the recurring newsletter and, if you like, support the work of Giskim!

    From: Ascent of Mount Carmel, Stanzas.

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