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read º eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ´ Juan de la Cruz E lumière De même uand cette divine lumière de la contemplation investit l’âme ui n’est pas encore complètement éclairée elle produit en elle des ténèbres spirituelles parce ue non seulement elle la dépasse mais parce u’elle la prive de son intelli. There are two ways of thinking and speaking of God The first is the apophatic way or the via negativa the way of negation This way of thinking and speaking focuses on the transcendence of God and the inability of human language and experience to encompass all that God is and does The second is the kataphatic way or the via affirmativa the way of affirmation This way of thinking about God focuses on His immanence and His presence with us in and through His creation Charles Williams has rightly pointed out that each Christian must approach God through both ways to some degree or risk falling into heretical beliefs If God were ultimately transcendent then we would become Gnostics shunning matter and the material world as evil If God were ultimately immanent then we would become pantheists unable to separate God from His creation With that in mind I recently read The Dark Night of the Soul by St John of the Cross a practitioner par excellence of the apophatic way I intend to wrestle with this tough little book and its author and perhaps come to fisticuffs before it’s all over We’ll see how it turns outFirst of all some background St John of the Cross wrote of the “dark night of the soul” a time when the first excitement of conversion and service to God wanes and the believer is left with a sense of emptiness a sense of God’s absence He may continue to practice the same spiritual exercises as before but the joy in them is gone It seems that he takes no pleasure in the things of God and this leads to a spiritual depression Most if not all believers will experience this at some point in their lives St Augustine St Francis Martin Luther GK Chesterton and CS Lewis all experienced these dark nights It is the goal of St John to show that when this occurs it is God’s instrument to empty us of our pride and selfishness and focus us fully on Him drawing us closer to Divine Love So far so goodSt John open with an excellent discussion of the various manifestations of pride including prideful things such as the desire to be teachers rather than learners the desire to experience a spiritual high a sort of spiritual gluttony and the desire to be recognized for one’s great learninghumilityholiness St John stresses total reliance on Divine Grace and the inability of humans to stir up within themselves these experiences of God God alone must give a sense of His presence as a gift St John is also very concerned with articulating a theology of suffering as an aid to those who suffer in their Christian walk All of these things are good and I appreciated them greatlyThat being said and I feel a bit guilty saying this I didn’t like this book overall The whole of the book is permeated with an ascetic sort of dualism The goal of salvation in the mind of St John of the Cross is for the soul to become one with God to enjoy unity with its Creator In order for this to happen the person must be emptied first of every physical desire and pleasure and then of every spiritual desire and pleasure A perfect emptiness is necessary before the soul may enjoy unity with God Biblically the ultimate end of salvation is the resurrection of the body and eternal life in the new heavens and new earth St John’s method like the entire ascetic project finds some sort of sharp division between body and soul and holds the soul up as the better of the two In the ascetic scheme we come closer to the Giver and embrace Him by scorning His gifts This whole way of thinking misses the fact that creation is charged with the presence of God Through sacraments and scripture we see God everywhere and His truth proclaimed throughout the universe An author would be puzzled if I claimed to be his biggest fan and then proved it by refusing to read his books If we love an author we will generally love his books and it often works the other way as well; if we love the books we will develop a love for the author This in essence is the kataphatic way the way of affirmation St Francis revered nature and found God; Dante loved Beatrice and found God; Chesterton embraced the world and found God; Lewis loved Balder and found GodHow do we balance this though to avoid having idolatrous thoughts of God One theme that is abundantly clear throughout The Dark Night of the Soul is that God is far than we see of Him in Scripture and far than we see of Him in creation Because He is transcendent all that we know of Him through His world and Word are still but part of the whole Our finite minds and language cannot properly conceive the full majesty and glory of God In St John’s logic this leads us to the obvious conclusion that we ought to mortify the flesh and spirit in order that our souls may peel back the veil and see God as He truly is However not only is this not the only conclusion I believe it is the wrong conclusion Martin Luther himself recognized the transcendence of what he termed the Hidden God He recognized all the same problems as St John His solution however was that we will never be creatures that will be able to penetrate that veil for we will always be finite creatures God would be totally unknowable to us except for the fact that He condescended to meet us where we are This means that we should look at the things God has revealed about Himself in order to know Him physical things like the Word and Sacraments Only through these things can we know God for we cannot peel back the veil and see the ineffable nature of God By this the two ways the apophatic and kataphatic are reconciled in a way that St John can’t uite reachSt John says that many who devote themselves to the contemplation of God that he encourages find it repugnant to speak of the things they have learned in secret for human language cannot tell of what they experience However we are told in Scripture that Jesus is the Word of God God has chosen to reveal Himself in words Language is God’s divine creation It is true that we may not know God as He really is but that is because we cannot comprehend Him as He is We can only know Him as He reveals Himself and therefore through special revelation In other words words In fact I may go as far as to say that God does not want us to contemplate His nature or thoughts apart from what He has revealed to us Deut 2929Overall I had a hard time with this book I really wanted to like it I absolutely loved The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence but this was as different from the world affirming Lawrence as possible Often throughout Church history Christians have held that the way of affirmation of knowing God through His creation and revelation is the beginning which will eventually lead to the way of negation knowing God in a contemplative fashion apart from the things revealed Charles Williams reverses the two saying that we may start with contemplation but we must move on to affirmation as we mature I believe that this is Biblical in light to the great emphasis in the Scriptures on resurrection material blessings and the creation in general As Williams writes “It is necessary first to establish the awful difference between God and the world before we can be permitted to see the awful likeness It is and will always remain necessary to remember the difference in the likeness Neither of these two Ways indeed is or can be exclusive”

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La noche oscura del alma characters ✓ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ✓ « Plus les choses divines sont en soi claires et manifestes plus elles sont naturellement obscures et cachées à l’âme Il en est ici comme de la lumière naturelle plus on veut fixer le soleil en face et plus on éblouit la puissance visuelle Gence naturelle et en obscurcit l’acte »Sur le chemin mystiue l’expérience de la nuit n’est ni noire ni dramatiue ni tragiue Ce magnifiue traité poétiue montre au contraire u’elle est réceptrice de leçons divines Une œuvre majeure de la voie négati. I've been wanting to read St John of the Cross for some time and awhile ago I happened to have picked up this little hardcover cheaply I finally began digging into it and after reading about half I have decided to read it later in a different translation It seems Mirabai Starr has taken it upon herself to take a few liberties with the text two of which are bound to annoy me The first is that she has minimized all direct Christian references The second is that she has translated El Diablo as the fragmented self and has replaced all references to evil sin hell and the devil as states and entities with other such psychobabblish terms If you want to interpret these Christian terms as metaphorical fine but by all means use the original metaphors; don't attempt some bland substitution that kills the poetry and in all likelihood butchers the sense Of course the poet can speak to people of other religions but let's not pretend St John of the Cross didn't have a specifically Christian understanding of God and humanity and sin I certainly don't want to read Rumi with all references to Mohammed replaced by some nonspecified prophet figure either If readers can't take away truth from a writing without being catered to by having an author's original vocabulary replaced with terms they find appealingnever mind rant over

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La noche oscura del alma« Plus les choses divines sont en soi claires et manifestes plus elles sont naturellement obscures et cachées à l’âme Il en est ici comme de la lumière naturelle plus on veut fixer le soleil en face et plus on éblouit la puissance visuelle et on la prive d. First edition it appears came out in the fifties Today I got my own copy in Arabic from the Carmelites of Lebanon It is a sheer delight to read In the first chapter he draws a beautiful image of the loving mother who is God likened to She has to wean her child I just loved this paragraph and we are fortunate that the book is also online for reading and on the Carmelites's site themselves straight from the mouth of the hourse Here is what John of the Cross says2 It should be known then that God nurtures and caresses the soul after it has been resolutely converted to his service like a loving mother who warms her child with the heat of her bosom nurses it with good milk and tender food and carries and caresses it in her arms But as the child grows older the mother withholds her caresses and hides her tender love; she rubs bitter aloes on her sweet breast and sets the child down from her arms letting it walk on its own feet so that it may put aside the habits of childhood and grow accustomed to greater and important things The grace of God acts just as a loving mother by re engendering in the soul new enthusiasm and fervor in the service of God With no effort on the soul's part this grace causes it to taste sweet and delectable milk and to experience intense satisfaction in the performance of spiritual exercises because God is handing the breast of his tender love to the soul just as if it were a delicate child 1 Pt 22 31 this concept is so special to me as it reminds me of Psalm 131as it says 1 My heart is not proud O LORD my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me 2 But I have stilled and uieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother like a weaned child is my soul within me 3 O Israel put your hope in the LORD both now and forever