"The beginner strives to know God and know himself; his prayer life is that of meditation. If he is generous to the inspirations of grace, he quickly brings order into his moral life and his prayer becomes more affective and more simple. Through faithfulness to active purification we enter the dark night of the senses and passive purification. This dark night is the door to the illuminative way and the beginning of manifest mystical life. The gifts of the Holy Spirit, which always act in a “superhuman way” according to the divine manner and measure, now predominate in the prayer and life of the proficient.
"Contemplation, especially the exercise of the gift of understanding, which penetrates divine mysteries, specifies the prayer life. But the proficient is not yet perfect. A still more radical purification must occur, the dark night of the spirit. This is the transition into the way of the perfect, which in turn is characterized by the highest infused contemplation, that of the gift of wisdom, which gives a quasi-experimental knowledge of God."The Three Ways
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