Reading St. John of the Cross’s Dark Night can be daunting; living the dark experience of purification it describes can be much more so. The description of the dark nights (yes, there is more than one!) which St. John presents seems so stark and painful that one might be tempted to just close the book and stop reading. On top of that, both the process St. John describes and the language he uses can be confusing and intimidating.
The language of 16th-century scholasticism is not easily understood by 21st-century readers living in a completely different culture and context. Perhaps even more challenging is that fact that our modern lives, filled with the non-stop clutter of social media and technology, as well as comfort and ease, do not prepare most of us well to honestly look into our own depths to see who we are and who we are intended to become as fully alive human beings.
Fortunately we now have this helpful book to guide us to that full life which St. John invites us to in The Dark Night. Father Marc Foley here combines his own theological and psychological background, as well as his experience as a spiritual guide, to help modern readers understand the experiences, challenges, and graced events of the purifying nights of sense and spirit.
In addition to exploring certain key terms that John uses in Spanish and their meaning in the saint’s time and today, Father Marc includes pertinent selections from a wide range of writers, ancient to modern, that illustrate the themes he covers. Each chapter concludes with insightful questions for personal reflection or group discussion. The book has a comprehensive index.