Before beginning this study, you should read the poem several times and meditate on the stanza’s that move your heart.
These Response starters are meant to help you respond spiritually to John’s text. Use those that help and skip those that do not but I would appreciate your feedback. You can copy the starter and respond in a comment or create your own post.
Intro: What is John’s goal in writing this work and how has Carmel made you more the person John says he is writing for?
Prologue: John says that few will understand and refers to detachment as a prerequisite for benefiting from his words. What does he mean? Examine your own attachments and consider how they might deter you in this study and in your own ascent.
Ch 1: John says it is sheer grace to be placed in this night. Recall this grace in your life. Thank God for the awareness of the need for purification which leads to the “sleep” of the senses. Spend some time considering this grace and what this “sleep” looks and feels like. Focus on one particular example in your life where you can see a difference between how your experience with one of your senses has changed. How did this happen? Does this help you see what you need to do in other areas?
Ch.2,3 John explains the term night and the divisions. Consider these divisions applied to some attribute of God that was first revealed through your senses. How have you progressed through the stages? Why is this denudation necessary? What is the danger of the fixation of the senses on what God created and declared good?
Ch.4,5 John presents several arguments to convince us that we need this night and to motivate us to become active in our own purification. Read these chapters again and become more convinced.