Dark Night of the Soul: St John of the Cross


Tortured and abandoned in his tiny prison cell, the sixteenth century Spanish mystic, John of the Cross, composed his now classic poem of the soul’s longing for God. Written on a scroll smuggled to him by one of his guards while he was imprisoned for his attempts to reform the Church, his songs are the ultimate expression of the spiritual seeker’s journey from estranged despair to blissful union with the divine. John experienced his dark night of the soul when God seemed to have abandoned him and prayers no longer provided solace. After escaping his captors, he fell into a state of profound ecstasy and wrote Dark Night of the Soul. Later, he added an important commentary to his poem to guide other searching souls along the arduous path to communion with God.Dark Night of the Soul has never been translated with its subsequent commentary by anyone outside the Catholic Church. Mirabai Starr, who has studied Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism, lends the seeker’s sensibility to John’s powerful text. She brings this work to the twenty-first century in a brilliant and beautiful rendering.

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