Collected Works of St. John of the Cross - St. John of the Cross
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The Ascent Of Mount Carmel is part of four works by St. John dealing with the "Dark Night of the Soul," when the individual Soul undergoes earthly and spiritual privations in search of union with God. The Ascent Of Mount Carmel is regarded as one of the greatest works of mysticism in Christianity. The book is divided into three sections and is presented as a commentary on four poetic stanzas by John on the subject of the Dark Night. He shows how the Soul sets out to leave all worldly ties and appetites behind to achieve "nothing less than transformation in God." Dark Night of the Soul is a theological commentary on the poem explaining the meaning of St. John of the Cross' poem of the same name. The book describes its meaning by stanza. Dark Night of the Soul narrates the journey of the soul from bodily home to union with God. In A Spiritual Canticle of the Soul and the Bridegroom Christ, St. John states: "I do not purpose here to set forth all that greatness and fullness the spirit of love, which is fruitful, embodies in it. Yes, rather it would be foolishness to think that the language of love and the mystical intelligence - and that is what these stanzas are - can be at all explained in words of any kind, for the Spirit of our Lord who helps our weakness." The Poetry of St. John of the Cross includes 25 of his most inspirational poems including What is Grace, By the Waters of Babylon, My Soul is a Candle, Within the Trinity and more. John of the Cross was a major figure of the Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, Catholic saint, Carmelite friar and priest. He is considered, along with Saint Teresa of Avila, as a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. His poetry and his studies on the growth of the soul are considered the summit of mystical.