The Dark Night
by: St. John of the Cross
“On a night of darkness,
In love’s anxiety of longing kindled,
O blessed chance!
I left by none beheld,
My house in sleep and silence stilled.
In darkness and secure,
By the secret ladder and disguised,
O blessed venture!
In darkness and concealed,
My house is sleep and silence stilled.
By dark of blessed night,
In secrecy, for no one saw me
And I regarded nothing,
My only light and guide
The one that in my heart was burning.
This guided, led me on
More surely than the radiance of noon
To where there waited one
Who was to me well known,
And in a place where no one came in view.
O night, you were the guide!
O night more desirable than dawn!
O dark of night you joined
Beloved with belov’d one,
Belov’d one in Beloved now transformed!
Upon my flowering breast,
Entirely kept for him and him alone,
There he stayed and slept
And I caressed him
In breezes from the fan of cedars blown.
Breezes on the battlements –
As I was spreading out his hair,
With his unhurried hand
He wounded my neck
And all my sense left suspended there.
I stayed, myself forgotten,
My countenance against my love reclined;
All ceased, and self forsaken
I left my care behind
Among the lilies, unremembered.”
Here, John writes of rejoicing in his union with God by the path of spiritual negation. Very sensual, which is common among the mystics.
There have been times past when the sense of God’s presence and my great desire for God have been so great, that I have experienced spiritually, emotionally, and physically such things – such passion, such… I just don’t know how to describe it.
That was a good while past. I don’t know whether the passion has waned, whether the desire is gone, or maybe just different now.
The Dark Night