Ascent of Mount Carmel

by Saint John of the Cross

"the greatest of all mystical theologians"

Thus has Thomas Merton described St. John of the Cross, echoing the considered judgment of most authorities on the spiritual life; and here in this volume is the great mystic's most widely appealing work. Ascent of Mount Carmel is an incomparable guide to the spiritual life -- because its author has lived his own counsel. Addressed to informed Christians who aspire to grow in union with God, it examines every category of spiritual experience, the spurious as well as the authentic. With rare insight into human psychology it not only tells how to become more closely united with God, but spells out in vivid detail the pitfalls to avoid.

In his Apostolic Letter proclaiming St. John of the Cross a Doctor of the Church, Pope Pius XI wrote that he "points out to souls the way of perfection as though illumined by light from on high, in his limpidly clear analysis of mystical experience. And although [his works] deal with difficult and hidden matters, they are nevertheless replete with such lofty spiritual doctrine and are so well adapted to the understanding of those who study them that they can rightly be called a guide and handbook for the man of faith who proposes to embrace a life of perfection."

This translation by E. Allison Peers was hailed by the London Times as "the most faithful that has appeared in any European language."

HTML version:

Table of Contents
Prefatory material
Book I
Book II
Book III

Other version available: text [922K], htm [1650K], @pdf [811k], @RTF [1322K]

Proceed to the sequel, Dark Night of the Soul

This document (last modified January 28, 1999) from
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