A "nocturne" painting study from life. From a great class taught by artist James Martin.
"...And in the luck of night
In secret places where no other spied
I went without my sight
Without a light to guide
Except the heart that lit me from inside.
"It guided me and shone
Surer than noonday sunlight over me,
And led me to the one
Whom only I could see
Deep in a place where only we could be..."
-excerpt, St. John of the Cross*, "The Dark Night of the Soul"
*Saint John of the Cross was a Spanish friar who lived the 1500s, during the Counter-Reformation. His writings would later greatly influence Pope John Paul II.
At first glance his poem simply seems like a romantic poem, but if you read about his intended meaning behind the premise of the poem, it's really quite something.
To sum it up, (I think?), he thinks that for people to reach 'perfection'- that is, to have a pure, free, true love of God and of others, they will have to let go of any dependency on sensible (as in, able to be sensed), gratifying feedback both in the world and in spiritual life. Because as long as a person is motivated by seeking that sort of feedback, their love will not be totally pure and true. That journey of losing hold on the sensible stuff is what he compares to the night.
"To reach satisfaction in all, desire satisfaction in nothing..."
"For contemplation is nothing else than a secret and peaceful and
loving inflow of God, which, if not hampered, fires the soul in the spirit