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Juan de la Cruz
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The Ascent Of Mount Carmel

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  483 ratings  ·  35 reviews
"I remained, lost in oblivion; My face I reclined on the Beloved. All ceased and I abandoned myself, Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies." Thus writes 16th century Spanish poet and mystic, St. John of the Cross. In this, his third work, the author reflects on the nature of a personal union with Christ, found in the abandonment of self.
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Published (first published 1579)
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Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone searching for Jesus
February 16, 2020: Going to be rereading this.

July 2, 2015: After years of wanting to read this, many starts and restarts, I finally finished it! It turned out not to be so insurmountable as I'd made it out to be. Was this because of a mental block or because it was too soon? Loved how he tied Faith to the Intellect, Hope to the Memory and Charity to the Will. Those sections were the best and require careful rereading/outlining. Much to be gained there. Dripping with Scripture, John brought out
John Schneider
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, non-fiction
As I was drinking my morning cup of coffee, I reached the end of St. John of the Cross's "The Ascent of Mount Carmel." I cannot say that I am finished with they work because I plan on coming back to its tremendous insights many more time. As my first foray into his poetic approach to theology, I found St. John dense but very accessible. I was also quite saddened that St. John did not finish "The Ascent" but left the work 98% complete: he was missing two chapters related to the virtue of charity ...more
Feb 18, 2020 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Will be OFF GOODREADS DURING LENT! Will be reading this for the next six months or so...
David Miller
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tragically, St. John did not finish this book; it ends mid-stream, in the midst of a long treatise on things the will finds enjoyable.

The book is a systematic analysis of drawing close to God by removing our attachment to the world. Not that we become irresponsible dreamers; St. John is quite clear that first, our fulfillment of our responsibilities becomes easier and lighter, not more onerous and burdensome; and that our enjoyment of the good things of the world gets more intense. St. John
Sep 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the classics in Spanish. The book dates back to the 1500s and is toted as A Masterpied in the Literature of Mysticisim. In fact St. John of the Cross is called the greatest mystical writer of all times. This work is one all that easy to read. He talks about spiritual things no other writers had ever written about, at least in such detail. He explains how to become more closley united with God and the pitfalls to avoid. He talks about when it is time to change the way you pray. In ...more
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the classics of Catholic mystical theology by a Doctor of the Church.
Clear and helpful guidance on the mystical path.
Glen Grunau
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Merton called John of the Cross "the greatest of all mystical theologians. That could have been praise enough to draw me to the writings of this mystic, but what compelled me most was listening to the recording of a retreat (Intimacy: The Divine Ambush) with Richard Rohr and James Finley given in Santa Fe, New Mexico in April, 2013. During this retreat, James Finley made frequent references to the Works of St. John of the Cross, particularly the Ascent of Mount Carmel.

This book follows
Mar 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Has a mystic feel to it. Great at points, but you have to chew the meat of what is good, and spit out the bones of what is bad.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, audiobook
Occasionally very Catholic. Sprinkled with numerology. Some good bits. Really organized to be read in book form rather than audiobook. I dont quite grasp what he means by darkness which he went over at the beginning and that probably hindered my grasp of later stuff. ...more
I read two translations simultaneously. There were many times when I had to switch back and forth to try to understand what St. John was trying to get across.

It took me about an hour to read and reflect on most of the average 91 chapters here to approach anywhere near understanding of St. Johns message over a time of three months. After finishing this deep spiritual guide I realize that it may be a difficult life prescription to anyone but a solitary, perhaps a religious person as Thomas Merton
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been sometime since I read John of the Cross and I think that biblical studies and Barth have ruined me for mysticism. Oh well. John of the Cross is a poetic soul and well I think there may be too much Neoplatonism in places, there is a lot of wisdom here. John of the Cross uses one of his poems to frame this discussion of progress in the spiritual life (like in Dark Night of the Soul) Ascent of Mt Carmel is built on a poem about a Dark Night of the Soul where we have the three 'dark ...more
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
The theme of this mystical treatise is how the spiritual man will properly use the powers of the soul in order to reach the divine union with God, which process St. John of the Cross calls "The Active Spiritual Night." What does this look like in a Christian's life? Well, after much mystical treatment and a very long, repetitive section on visions, a very clear and rational teaching comes to light: The natural man is ruled by his 1) Intellect, 2) Memory, and 3) Will. After the spiritual man goes ...more
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Luke Langley
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great work discussing the discernment and approach towards union with God. He is incredible at describing the spiritual journey through purgation of senses and spiritual pleasure attaching ourselves to God alone, and invaluable classic. Criticisms: only that he didn't allow enough for the fact that God created this world good and it is through the things of this world that we come to know Him, where he seems to say that we should get no enjoyment out of anything in this world. Also he spends ...more
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really have a different edition but it's part of the Complete Works so I can't review it separately.

This is first-class technical writing about a difficult subject. As a former technical writer (about high-tech) I appreciate the style. It is one of the few most important works of world mysticism and of course Christian mysticism. As a modern person, I can't agree with his attitude toward suffering (he thinks the more, the better) or his deprecating of joy. I think he must mean something
Reuben Nuxoll
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very easy to read and mostly to understand. It goes through the first part of the night, which is that of the senses (Book I), then the second and darkest part of the night, which is the active purification of the understanding so as to believe (Book II), the memory so as to hope and the will so as to love (Book III). He doesnt finish with the third part of the night, which is the passive purification that approaches complete union with God. ...more
Andrew Lind
Normally, I wouldn't give a book written by a Canonized Saint 3 stars, but with all of the notes, introductions, prologues, and various other things in this edition, I feel like I had to. I just wish there was a version of this classic work out there that had only the text written by this great Saint/Doctor of The Church and nothing more. Other than that, it is a wonderful work and I am so thankful I was able to read this classic work during Lent.
Elizabeth Andrew
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
I remain enamored of John of the Cross. It's well worth the slog through his books just to inhabit his cosmology--one where we already are united with the Ultimate, where reason is a God-given faculty we're admonished to use, and where faith permeates and transcends reason. Faith is a path of unknowing because mystery (or God) cannot be known. John in great detail delineates the path of unknowing, which is an admirable and of course impossible undertaking. I'm so glad for his companionship!
Fr. Jedidiah Tritle
Read St. Therese first, in my opinion, then tackle this--the greatest work on the interior life that I've ever read. John's theology is sublime, and it strikes to the core of the human heart. Where do our affections lie, and what is keeping us from perfect union with God? John challenges us to answer these questions for ourselves. Excellent book, excellent Saint.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maybe the most countercultural book I've read.

"Those blinded by desire will not see what is good for them even if they are placed in the midst of the truth."

We keep chasing what makes us feel good. And we keep finding depression and anxiety. This book tells us that the desires keep us from the ultimate good.

I've read it twice and taken notes. I'll be coming back.
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: personal
It is a good combination of St. Ignatius's exercises and St. Francis's way of life.
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It gives great insight on how to keep one soul in gods path
Conner Haagenson
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not going to lie this book was complicated and a hard read, but it was worth it. Very interesting and thought provoking.
Eli Kittim
May 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The definitive book of mysticism and spiritual rebirth!
Sami Eerola
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
If only Christians actually read this book the world would be a better place.
Connor Longaphie
The only way i can describe this is internal asceticism. And I can't really explain what i mean by that
Robby Rami
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: g-d
Very dense. Ill need to read it more carefully and not just listen to the audiobook. Very basically, it covers different aspects of living a good Christian life and placing ones trust in G-d. He mentions the concept of the dark night of the soul, which is the title of his other and more famous book. This concept is the period of a Christians life when the presence of G-d seems very far away, and requires more faith to persevere in hope of becoming even closer to G-d in the future. ...more
Cala Meyers
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ascending the mountain to union with God.
Elliot Lake
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread-pile

Most people will only be able to understand Book I after 5 readings. However, It's incredibly potent reading and is well worth it.

As for the other books, I cannot understand them at all. I suspect this is because I still struggle with the attachments that the saints talks about at length in the first book.
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San Juan de la Cruz (English: St. John of the Cross), born Juan de Yepes Álvarez, was a major Counter-Reformation figure, a Spanish mystic, Catholic saint, Carmelite friar & priest. He was a reformer of the Carmelite Order & is considered, along with St Teresa of Ávila, as a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. He's also known for his writings. Both his poetry & his studies on the ...more

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“For God is so desirous that the government and direction of every man should be undertaken by another man like himself, and that every man should be ruled and governed by natural reason, that He earnestly desires us not to give entire credence to the things that He communicates to us supernaturally, nor to consider them as being securely and completely confirmed until they pass through this human aqueduct of the mouth of man.” 2 likes
“It must be pointed out to the preacher, if he is to cause his people profit and not to embarrass himself with vain joy and presumption, that preaching is a spiritual exercise rather than a vocal one. For, although it is practiced by means of outward words, its power and efficacy reside not in these but in the inward spirit. Wherefore, however lofty be the doctrine that is preached, and however choice the rhetoric and sublime the style wherein it is clothed, it brings as a rule no more benefit than is present in the spirit of the preacher.” 1 likes
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