Seven Sins of the Spiritual Life (Part 4)

The following is a continuation of reflections by John of the Cross in Dark Night of the Soul.  This examines the fourth sin of the spiritual life.  The previous three were: pride, greed, and luxury.  Now he discusses the sin of spiritual wrath.

When the soul begins to enjoy the benefits of the spiritual life and then has them taken away, it becomes angry and embittered.  This is the sin of spiritual wrath, the fourth capital sin, and it, too, must be purged in the dark night.


When their delight comes to an end, these persons are very anxious and frustrated just as an infant is angry when it is taken away from its mother’s breast.  There is no sin in this natural disappointment, but if it is left to itself, it may become a dangerous vice.


There are some who become angry with themselves at this point, thinking that their loss of joy is a result of something they have done or have neglected to do.  They will fuss and fret and do all they can to recover this consolation.  They will strive to become saints in a day.  They will make all kinds of resolutions to be more spiritual, but the greater the resolution, the greater is the fall.


Their problem is that they lack the patience that waits for whatever God would give them and when God chooses to give.  They must learn spiritual meekness which will come about in the dark night.


(cited in Richard Foster’s, ed., Devotional Classics, p. 35) 

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