Ascent of Mount Carmel

Ascent Of Mount Carmel

Ascent of Mount Carmel

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Ascent of Mount Carmel (Subida del Monte Carmelo) is a 16th-century spiritual treatise by Spanish Christian mystic and poet St John of the Cross. The book is a systematic treatment of the ascetical life in pursuit of mystical union with Christ, giving advice and reporting on his own experience. It is part of four works by John dealing with the so-called Dark Night of the Soul, when the individual Soul undergoes earthly and spiritual privations in search of union with God. Along with the other three, The Dark Night Of the Soul, The Living Flame of God and the Spiritual Canticle, it is regarded as one of the greatest works of mysticism in Christianity and in the Spanish language.

Written between 1578 and 1579 in Granada, Spain, after his escape from prison, the Ascent is illustrated by a diagram of the process outlined in the text of the Soul's progress to the summit of the metaphorical Mt Carmel where God is encountered. The work is divided into three sections and is set out as a commentary on four poetic stanzas by John on the subject of the Dark Night. John shows how the Soul sets out to leave all worldly ties and appetites behind to achieve "nothing less than transformation in God".

Text of the Poem

Considered to be his introductory work on mystical theology, this work begins with an allegorical poem. The rest of the text is a detailed explanation and interpretation of the poem. The poem is as follows:

On a dark night, Kindled in love with yearnings
-- oh,......
...

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