In one series, the original writings of the universally acknowledged teachers of the Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, Islamic and Native American traditions have been critically selected, translated and introduced by internationally recognized scholars and spiritual leaders.
I abandoned and forgot myself
Laying my face on my beloved;
All things ceased; I went out from myself,
Leaving any cares forgotten among the lilies.
John of the Cross 1542-1591
There are few works on the spiritual life in the West that can match the insight and sheer beauty of those of the sixteenth-century Spanish Carmelite, St. John of the Cross. A collaborator with St. Teresa of Avila in the reform movement that attempted to forge a new style of religious life, dedicated to recollection yet distinct from both the enthusiasm of the alumbrados and the sterility of the conventual Carmelites, John was no stranger to suffering. As he so memorably wrote in The Ascent of Mount Carmel, summing up his doctrine of detachment,
"nothing (nada), nothing, nothing, and even on the Mountain nothing"
Yet the harshness of his teaching that emerges in the context of his commentaries on his poetry is balanced by the poetry itself – a poetry that breathes the warmth and sweetness of the tender love of God that made John one of the greatest mystical writers of all time and earned him the title, Doctor of the Church. Here, under one cover, are selections from his major works in a revised translation by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. Taken as a whole, this volume represents the essential St. John of the Cross and will serve well both the newcomer and the expert.