I would like to introduce a new series of books on St. John of the Cross. I have been working on these for over six years. This series presents introductions to each of the great works of John of the Cross. Each volume is a study guide to one of John’s major works and gives all the necessary background for anyone who wishes to approach this great spiritual writer with appropriate preparation in order to reap the benefits of one of the most challenging figures in the history of spirituality. Each book is a complete introduction offering background, history, knowledge, insight, and theological and spiritual analysis for anyone who wishes to immerse himself or herself into the spiritual vision of John of the Cross.

While targeted to the general reader these volumes would be helpful to anyone who is interested in the spiritual guidance of this saint. These books give insight into the critical components of spiritual life and can be helpful for anyone interested in his or her own spiritual journey. They could be helpful for the many people involved in the spiritual guidance of others, whether in spiritual direction, retreat work, chaplaincy, and other such ministries. Throughout these books the reader is encouraged to develop the necessary attitudes, enthusiasm, spiritual sensitivity, and contemplative spirit needed to benefit from these spiritual masterpieces of John of the Cross. Attentive reflection on these studies will encourage readers to have a genuine love for John of the Cross and his approach to the spiritual journey.

These books give historical, regional, and religious background rarely found in other introductory books on John of the Cross. They each present an abbreviated and accessible form of John’s great works. Later chapters in each book give John’s theological and spiritual insights that could be used for personal reflection and group discussion. Sections abound in quotes and references from John’s books and each sub-section can be used as the basis for daily meditation. The volumes complement each other, and together give the reader excellent foundation for reading the works of this great spiritual leader and saint.

Volume 1. John of the Cross: Your spiritual guide

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This unique book is written as if John of the Cross is speaking directly to the reader. It is a presentation by John of the Cross of seven sessions to a reader who has expressed interest in John’s life and teachings. This book introduces the great mystic and his teachings to his reader and to all individuals who yearn for a deeper commitment in their spiritual lives and consider that John could be the person who can guide them.

Table of contents

  1. John’s life as a contemporary life
  2. John as a spiritual guide
  3. John’s vision of the spiritual life
  4. Preparations for the spiritual journey
  5. Major moments and decisions in the spiritual life
  6. Necessary attitudes during the spiritual journey
  7. Celebrating the goal of the spiritual journey

 

Volume 2. The Dark Night is Our Only Light: A study of the book of the Dark Night by John of the Cross

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This introduction to the Dark Night of the Soul by John of the Cross gives all the necessary background for anyone who wishes to approach this great spiritual work with appropriate preparation in order to reap the benefits of one of the most challenging works in the history of spirituality. The book starts with the life of John of the Cross, identifying the dark nights of his own life. It provides the needed historical, religious, and personal background to appreciate and locate its content. It then presents readers with aids they can use to understand the work. With these preparations in mind the book moves on to present the stages of the spiritual life and the importance of the nights. A summary of John’s own work brings readers in direct contact with the challenges of the message and its application today. The book ends with 20 key questions that often arise when someone reads this book.

Table of contents

  1. John of the Cross and the dark nights of his own life
  2. Influences on John’s writing of the Dark Night
  3. Aids to reading the Dark Night
  4. Understanding the book of the Dark Night
  5. The book of the Dark Night by John of the Cross – a summary
  6. Five key spiritual challenges of the book of the Dark Night
  7. The dark night in contemporary life
  8. Twenty questions for John of the Cross and his book of the Dark Night

 

Volume 3. The Spiritual Canticle: The encounter of two lovers. An introduction to the book of the Spiritual Canticle by John of the Cross

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The book starts with the life of John of the Cross, showing how he was always a model of love in his own life, and how, guided by his own experience he became a teacher and later a poet of human and divine love. The book provides the needed historical, religious, and personal background to appreciate and locate its content. The book then presents the links between John’s Spiritual Canticle and Scripture’s love poem, the Song of Songs. A summary of John’s own work brings readers in direct contact with the challenges of the message and its application today. With these preparations in mind the book moves on to present the stages of the spiritual life and the importance of the journey of love. The book then focuses on key concepts in the Spiritual Canticle, applying each of them to contemporary situations. Finally it considers the images of God presented in the book and how they relate to the spiritual journey.

Table of contents

  1. John of the Cross: model of love and poet of love
  2. The Spiritual Canticle
  3. The Spiritual Canticle and the Song of Songs
  4. The Story of the Spiritual Canticle
  5. The dynamism of the spiritual life in the Spiritual Canticle
  6. Key concepts in the Spiritual Canticle (part I—God)
  7. Key concepts in the Spiritual Canticle (part II—the bride)
  8. The image of God in the Spiritual Canticle

Conclusion: The Spiritual Canticle and the search for union in love

I hope you will enjoy reading these new books and find them helpful in your understanding of the great works of John of the Cross and that they will also help you in your own spiritual life.

These books are all available from amazon.com

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