The Cloud of Unknowing

( 1 )

Overview

Written by an anonymous English monk during the late fourteenth century, The Cloud of Unknowing is a sublime expression of what separates God from humanity and is widely regarded as a hallmark of Western literature and spirituality. A work of simplicity, courage, and lucidity, it is a contemplative classic on the deep mysteries of faith.

"Lift up your heart to God with a humble impulse of love and have himself as your aim, not any of his goods ... Set yourself to rest in this darkness, always crying out after him...

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Overview

Written by an anonymous English monk during the late fourteenth century, The Cloud of Unknowing is a sublime expression of what separates God from humanity and is widely regarded as a hallmark of Western literature and spirituality. A work of simplicity, courage, and lucidity, it is a contemplative classic on the deep mysteries of faith.

"Lift up your heart to God with a humble impulse of love and have himself as your aim, not any of his goods ... Set yourself to rest in this darkness, always crying out after him whom you love. For if you are to experience him or to see him at all, insofar as it is possible here, it must always be in this cloud and in this darkness." –– The Cloud of Unknowing

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060737757
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/31/2004
  • Series: HarperCollins Spiritual Classics
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 435,429
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

The HarperCollins Spiritual Classics series presents short, accessible introductions to the foundational works that shaped Western religious thought and culture. This series seeks to find new readers for these dynamic spiritual voices — voices that have changed lives throughout the centuries and still can today.

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First Chapter

The Cloud of Unknowing

Chapter One

The four degrees of the Christian life;
and how he for whom this book was
written advanced in his vocation.

My spiritual friend in God, you are to understand that, according to our rather crude reckoning, there are four degrees and forms of the Christian life. They are: ordinary, special, singular, and perfect.Three of these can be begun and ended in this life [laypeople, clerics, contemplatives -- ed.]; and one may begin the fourth by grace here below, which is to last without end in the happiness of heaven.These degrees are set out here in order, successively, first ordinary, then special, after that singular, and finally perfect. It is in this same way, I think, according to this very order and progress, that our Lord has, in his great mercy, called you and led you to him by the desire of your heart.

First, then, you are well aware that once you lived in the ordinary degree of the Christian life in the world with your friends. And I believe that the everlasting love of the Godhead, through which he made you and fashioned you when you were nothing and then bought you at the price of his precious blood when, in Adam, you were lost, would not allow you to be so far away from him in the manner and state of your living. And so with his great grace he kindled your desire and fastened to it a leash of longing, and with this he led you into a more special state and degree of life, to be a servant of the special servants of his, where you could learn to live in his service more particularly and more spiritually than you did before or could do in the ordinary way of life.What is more, it appeared that he was not going to leave you alone so easily, because of the love in his heart which he has always had for you since you first existed. What is it that he did? Do you not see with what love and with what grace he has called you up to the third degree and manner of life, which is called singular? And in this state and manner of life of the solitary you are to learn to lift up the foot of your love and step outwards toward that state and degree of life that is perfect, the last state of all.

The Cloud of Unknowing. Copyright © by Lori HarperCollins Spiritual Classics. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    Must read

    Amazing book about your connection to God. A must read book to discover your self as to who you truly are!

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