The Dark Night of the Soul in Devotional Classics

John of the Cross, ed. Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith

HarperSanFrancisco, 2004

pp. 35-36

Beware spiritual gluttony.  “Many souls become addicted to the spiritual sweetness of the devotional life and strive to obtain more and more of it.  They pass beyond the limits of moderation and nearly kill themselves with spiritual exercises.  They will very often try to subdue their flesh with great acts of submission, lengthy fasts, and painful penances.  But note: these are one-sided penances.  They do not come from God.  Such persons are working their own will, and thus, grow in vice rather than in virtue.”  They are only doing what they want, not necessarily what God wants.  They are really likely to grown weary in well doing.  “For this reason, it is probably better for these persons to give up their devotions entirely.”