The Living Flame of Love is the final chapter in John’s vision of love. It describes the end of a journey that began in longings of love that became an experience of purification for the person seeking union. The person in his or her journey then passed through a period of illumination regarding the God of love and his or her own need of love. Then the person reached the early stage of union in spiritual betrothal. The Living Flame of Love picks up from the final stage of union in the love of spiritual marriage and describes, in great beauty, several aspects of this final stage in the union of love. All these ideas are part of John’s wonderful vision of love.
I think Fr. Gabriel catches the wonder of this book when he writes: “The Living Flame of Love is a book of fire. Written all at a stretch in a fortnight, under the influence of an intense love, it reveals the Saint’s ardent soul better than the other works.” (St. John of the Cross: Doctor of Divine Love and Contemplation, 1954, 81).