Excerpt About Spirit
Poverty of SpiritTo understand the poverty of spirit we can remember John of the Cross’ “dark night of the soul.” He divides the dark night into two nights: the night of sense and the night of spirit. The dark night for him means the way of poverty. The dark night for him means the darkness, unknowing, and pain of the poverty as the soul divests herself of all possessions and attachments. He calls it a dark night because it is dark emotionally, difficult and painful, and also dark mentally, difficult to find guidance and clarity about this process. According to John of the Cross, we need to begin with the night of sense, the stage of poverty related to the external life, the material life and all its mental, emotional, and physical possessions. For him the night of sense is the stage of purification of the soul from her animal nature, from her sensual attachments and desires. When we are relatively comfortable with this level of poverty, we can move to the dark night of spirit, the stage of being poor in spirit, which is purification on the spiritual level, totally emptying the soul and getting her ready for her beloved, her God.