Spirit of Flame: A Study of St. John of the Cross

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This is a new release of the original 1944 edition.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781494050962
  • Publisher: Literary Licensing LLC
  • Publication date: 10/27/2013
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword v

Principal Abbreviations xiii

Part I The Mystic in Sixteenth-Century Spain

I Early Life 3

Birth and antecedents

School and University

Meeting with St. Teresa

The first Discalced friars.

II From Duruelo to Avila 19

Life at Duruelo

Removal to Mancera

Pastrana, Alcalá and Ávila

Relations between St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross.

III Prison 34

Growth of dissensions between the Observance and the Reform

St. John of the Cross kidnapped and imprisoned at Toledo

Poems written in prison

First stanzas of "Spiritual Canticle"


IV Beas and Monte Calvario 57

Journey to Andalusia


Monte Calvario

"Dark Night" and its commentary, The Ascent of Mount Carmel.

V Baeza and Granada 70


Conclusion of "Spiritual Canticle": commentary on the poem

Los Mártires

Dark Night of the Soul

"Living Flame of Love" and its commentary.

VI Last Days 87

Gracián and Doria

St. John of the Cross at Segovia

The Madrid Chapter: the Saint deprived of his offices

La Peñuela and Úbeda


VII Character 101

The Saint's character

A man of God

The Saint as a ruler of men

His lifework: the training of contemplatives

As a speaker: his eloquence that of love

Consideration for others

Resoluteness and austerity

Human traits: love of music and of Nature

The man in his letters: a life moulded by love.

Part II The Mystic and the World of To-Day

I Uniqueness of St. John of The Cross 121

St. John of the Cross has been described as unique, and is perhaps comparable only with St. Augustine and with Blessed John Ruys-broeck

His uniqueness is seen (i) in the unity, range and method of his work: (ii) in its intense subjectivity, which underlies an objectivity of form; (iii) in the variety of his attainments.

II The Poets' Poet 135

The Saint as a poet, in verse and in prose

A poet's poet

III The Mystics' Mystic 148

The Saint as a mystic

as "the mystics' mystic"

Others, however, can profit by reading him: he writes primarily, but not solely, for contemplatives

What message, if any, has he for the world of to-day?

IV Stumbling-Blocks (I) 154

To the formal, half-hearted Christian he makes no appeal at all

The genuine follower of Christ is at first repelled by: (i) the divergence of his standards from those of popular Christianity, (ii) his detachment from both material and spiritual things; (iii) his uncompromising conception of supposed insistence on physical penance; (iv) his supposed indifference to the good of others; (v) his teaching on passivity and on the transformation of the soul in God.

V Stumbling-Blocks (II) 176

To these objections it may be replied that, if measured by the standards of Holy Scripture, it is popular Christianity, not St. John of the Cross, that will be found wanting

His doctrine of the Being of God; his "hard sayings"; his views on aids to devotion; his language on transformation

His teaching on detachment: not meant for all; detachment is a means to an end; all creature-affections are not condemned.

VI Attractiveness of his Teaching 199

Attractiveness of the Saint's teaching to the Christian of today: (i) he restores a sense of Divine transcendence; (ii) he is a realist and presents things as they are; (iii) his severity is wholesome and bracing; (iv) he certifies us of the possibilities of Union; (v) he holds up to us high ideals.

Index 213

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