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Noche oscura del alma

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Literature, Poetry



Original title

Noche oscura del alma

Saint John of the Cross combines religious ecstasy and poetic inspiration in the symbol of the "dark night", the centre of his doctrine.

"The Dark Night of the Soul", by the monk Saint John of the Cross, was published in 1618 in the compilation of spiritual works "Obras espirituales que encaminan una alma a la perfecta unión con Dios".

The main theme in the text is the union of the soul with God during the mystical process. The writer, however, explains it in a more straightforward way. A women - who embodies the soul - after purging her sins and passions, starts to look for her lover - God - in the night, until she encounters a light that guides her and makes the union easier. Here Saint John introduces the symbol of the dark night, which was already used by previous mystics, and his doctrine revolves around this idea. He uses the simile of night and the plot of the lovers to explain the three ways by which the soul can unite with God: purgative, illuminative and unitive.


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