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Night of Sense

  • may be characterized by an aridity in prayer and daily life
  • may result in a fear that we are going backwards in our spiritual journey and that we have offended God 
  • weans us from spiritual consolations
  • leads to self-knowledge 
  • helps to free us from the false self
  • brings an awareness of mixed motivations
  • makes known the emotional traumas of early childhood
  • reduces the need to act out the emotional programs for happiness 

  • OMOH: 11, 26-28, 73
  • MG: 100, 102, 103
  • IL: 67-70, 71-75 
  • FG: 81, 84
  • BP: 38-39 

The Night of Sense usually is a time of altering the usual ways in which we relate to God through reflection or the experience of the senses. God helps us to dis-identify from our preconceived ideas by enlightening us from within through the contemplative Gifts of the Spirit, especially the Gift of Knowledge.

Related Concepts




The Night of Sense is a spiritual growing-up process similar to the transition from childhood to adolescence. God no longer gives help to the senses or to reflections making it difficult to practice discursive meditation and affective prayer. We may feel that we can no longer pray. The practice of virtue is difficult.

The Night of Sense brings us face-to-face with the dark side of our personality. We may begin to perceive the dynamics of our unconscious and to recognize the damage that has been done to us in early childhood. Through the infusion of God’s light and love, He lets us see our weaknesses, deficiencies, and selfishness which are the main sources of our emotional programs for happiness. Our faith grows and is purified and we move toward a permanent disposition of peace beyond the ups and downs of daily life.


 Reflection: Listening

The Night of Sense is a call to see the truth about ourselves and selfish ways. Consent to the process and let the false self die.

Reflection: Reflecting

What is your commitment to serving God without spiritual consolations? How is God speaking to you through a ritual, a sacrament, nature, art, a friendship, or a service?

Reflection: Responding

/”Lord, give me the grace to let go of my desire to satisfy my emotional programs for happiness./”