As a Carmelite monk, the 16th-century Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross was well trained in the systematic theology of St. Thomas Aquinas. In Dark Night of the Soul,
St. John's sharply organized mind gives clean shape to his mystical belief in a loving Being somewhere outside the realm of feeling, thought, or imagination, who can only be known through love. Dark Night of the Soul
describes the process of purgation, first of senses, and then of spirit, that precedes the soul's loving Union with God. To quote from this book would detract from the coiled power of its tightly focused picture of the soul's progress; suffice it to say that there has never been a better book for discouraged Christians. When you cannot understand what or why you believe, but you find yourself unable to abandon faith, look to St. John for help. --Michael Joseph Gross
From Publishers Weekly
"Hello darkness my old friend, I've come to talk with you again." These lyrics from Simon and Garfunkel's famous song could be the guiding theme of this excellent offering by psychiatrist and spiritual counselor May. As May delves into the meaning and purpose of "the dark night of the soul," we come to see it as a comforting and necessary friend, ushering in a time of transformation, rather than a gloomy blackness to avoid. In order to illuminate the dark night, May draws upon the lives of the Carmelite mystics, John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, as well as psychiatric research and scripture. Like the contemporary scholars of psychiatry, both Teresa and John had early insights into the unconscious dimension of life that goes on beneath our awareness-an obscure and mysterious arena that they both called "the dark." Since humans are so skilled at denial-especially denying the power of their compulsions and attachments-they would never enter into this spiritual night of reckoning if they could see in advance what it would entail. This is why we need the darkness in front of us. May, who also wrote Addiction and Grace, eventually moves into a strong discussion about depression and addiction, showing why the dark night is necessary to overcome both. Ultimately, he becomes a messenger of hope, reminding readers that every dark night brings the sweet dawn of awakening. With its clear writing and strong psychological foundation, this is a relevant resource for readers of all spiritual persuasions.
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