The Dark Night of the Soul in Devotional Classics

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

HarperSanFrancisco, 1990

p. 34

“Beginners in the spiritual life are apt . . . to develop a kind of secret pride . . . Such persons become too spiritual.  They like to speak of ‘spiritual things’ all the time.  They become content with their growth.  They would prefer to teach rather than to be taught . . . they do spiritual exercises to be esteemed by others.  They want others to realize how spiritual they are.  They also begin to fear confession to another for it would ruin their image.  So they soften their sins when they make confession . . .”  John of the Cross adds that believers infected with spiritual pride want God to remove their sins not so as to quit grieving God with them but only to achieve their own peace of mind.