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 memorable 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 balance 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.