John of the Cross
He is known for his rich use of symbolism and imagery within his poetry.
Dark Night of the Soul is the title of a poem written by 16th-century Spanish poet and Roman Catholic mystic Saint John of the Cross, as well as of a treatise he wrote later, commenting on the poem.
In this work — a spiritual masterpiece and classic of Christian literature and mysticism — he addresses several subjects, among them pride, avarice, envy, and other human imperfections. His discussion of the "dark night of the spirit," which considers afflictions and pain suffered by the soul, is followed by an extended explanation of divine love and the soul's exultant union with God.
This fine translation by E. Allison Peers "is the most faithful that has appeared in any European language: it is, indeed, much more than a translation for [Peers] added his own valuable historical and [critically interpretive] notes." — London Times.
Included in The Collected Works are St. John's poetry, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night, The Spiritual Canticle,and The Living Flame of Love, as well as his letters and other counsels. There is a general introduction for the entire work and brief, enlightening introductions for each specific work, explaining theme and structure. Enhancing these are the new footnotes, glossary of terms, and index.
It is part of four works by John dealing with the so-called Dark Night of the Soul, when the individual Soul undergoes earthly and spiritual privations in search of union with God. Along with the other three, The Dark Night Of the Soul, The Living Flame of God and the Spiritual Canticle, it is regarded as one of the greatest works of mysticism in Christianity and in the Spanish language.
After escaping his captors, John 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. Here, for the first time, a scholar unaffiliated with the Catholic Church has translated this timeless work. Mirabai Starr, who has studied Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism, lends the seeker’s sensibility to John’s powerful text and brings this classic work to the twenty-first century in a brilliant and beautiful rendering
With a soul purified from earthly attachments, we can advance through the much quoted but oft misunderstood dark night of the souls into unity with God. By accepting the desolation and difficulty of this process, the soul cooperates with God and opens itself to receiving and revealing more perfectly God's glory.
Be not afraid--Dark Night of the Soul, though austere and exacting in its instructions for holy living, is laced with St. John's charity and kindness, his love of all things beautiful and sacred--including you.