I’ve been writing about this book, and here is the author’s TED talk. (The book is so much better. Of course.) But the talk is well worth a quick listen, holding within it glimmers of the richness in the book itself.
This all leads, in some way, shape, or form, to Carmel, The Ascent of Mt. Carmel by John of the Cross – Spain’s greatest poet, one of the Church’s greatest spiritual writers, with a deep and rich call to the interior life that he did not take for granted. The necessity of time away, time with one’s thoughts, time spent in one’s heart, where alone we know the Lord, who reveals Himself in majesty.
A song of the soul’s happiness in having passed through the dark night of faith, in nakedness and purgation, to union with its Beloved.
1. One dark night, fired with love’s urgent longings — ah, the sheer grace! — I went out unseen, my house being now all stilled.
2. In darkness and secure, by the secret ladder, disguised, — ah, the sheer grace! — in darkness and concealment, my house being now all stilled.
3. On that glad night, in secret, for no one saw me, nor did I look at anything, with no other light or guide than the one that burned in my heart.
4. This guided me more surely than the light of noon to where he was awaiting me — him I knew so well — there in a place where no one appeared.
5. O guiding night! O night more lovely than the dawn! O night that has united the Lover with his beloved, transforming the beloved in her Lover.
6. Upon my flowering breast which I kept wholly for him alone, there he lay sleeping, and I caressing him there in a breeze from the fanning cedars.
7. When the breeze blew from the turret, as I parted his hair, it wounded my neck with its gentle hand, suspending all my senses.
8. I abandoned and forgot myself, laying my face on my Beloved; all things ceased; I went out from myself, leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.John of the Cross