Heat of the Summer Dark Night of the Soul VI

  1. Examples: Brother Lawrence 10 yrs, Mother Teresa[1] 30 yrs, Therese of Lisieux 1 ½ yrs
  2. John of the Cross, perhaps the preeminent thinker on the topic

Doctor, written work that transcends the time period lived


Juan’s father Gonzalo de Yepes came from a wealthy family, silk merchants. He fell in love with a girl Catalina Alvarez of lower position (weaver) and married. His family disinherited Gonzalo and he adapted to the drudgery of the poor, which in his case meant weaving.

Gonzalo worn out by a terrible sickness died when Juan was two. Catalina, reduced to penury as a young widow of three children went to her husband’s family begging for assistance. They rejected her pleading and she had to shift for herself and her three sons. Eventually, the mother would find worked in Castile and John would enter a school which was a type of orphanage. He received food and Christian doctrine. His readiness to assist at Holy Mass attracted the interest and his compassion for the sick distinguished him.

The administrator of the hospital took an interest in Juan and helped him enroll in a Jesuit school known for high standards of education particularly in regards to the classics of Latin, Greek and Spanish.

John saw love and its cost from his parents, poverty, responsibility, diligence, and rigorous study.

After discerning a call to the religious life, John entered the Carmelite order and was given the name John of St. Matthias. As his vocation progressed, he desired to enter a more asture order the Carthusians. He encountered Teresa of Avila, twice his age, and was convinced him to stay in the Carmelites and reform it. Note the contra to Luther and the Protestant Reformation.

Juan changed his name to John of the Cross, and this title was prophetic to what was to come.

This reform grew quickly and was met with severe opposition.

A conflict of jurisdiction, an interest in religious orders reform by the secular authorities (King Philip II) and the papal directives of Gregory XII. I recall the same pattern of secular and ecclesial entanglement of Pope Gelasius & (Byzantine) Emperor Anastasios in 496 AD over papal authority and Catholic orthodoxy

Juan was carted to a nearby Carmelite monastery handcuffed and often blindfolded. There were nearly 85 friars who lived here.

His charges of rebellion and contumacy were read aloud and he was to recant the Way of Teresa’s formation or be severely punished. Juan reasoned he was acting under legitimate authority and refused. He was severely punished by his own.

Duration of DNS (imprisonment by a group of Carmelites, lay people, men at arms) 9 Months. Floggings, fasting bread and water, lice infested habit, emaciated and close to death.

During his imprisonment, a new jailer was assigned to him who was kinder and more lenient. Juan took advantage of this situation to ask for pen and paper. He also, observed his surroundings when let out of his cell. He used these observations during his escape.

pg 19 “Faith and love will lead you along a path unknown to you, to the place where God is hidden.” Everything else gone, no one could divest him of these, and they gave him God.[2]

Discernment of spirits  a challenge, DNS terrible trials by others, took those away he would be fine theoretically

God knew, permitted it, no consolations, exterior things do not matter, only thing matters is God, cannot take away

[1] https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/spiritual-life/understanding-the-dark-night-of-the-soul.html  accessed July 4, 2023

[2] Kavanaugh & Rodriguez 19