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Saint John of the Cross: Devotions, Prayers and Living Wisdom

Author(s): Mirabai Starr

ISBN13: 9781591797968

ISBN10: 1591797969

Publisher: Veritas Warehouse - Ballycoolin D 11

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    When the humble friar Juan de Yepes felt despair creeping into his heart after months of imprisonment, he cried out to God: "Where have you hidden, my Beloved?" Today, we can hear the answer to his plea in his transcendent poetry and prose, which stand as eternal testaments to Saint Johns faith, insight, and courage in dark times. His uplifting masterpieces, such as The Spiritual Canticle and Dark Night of the Soul, are revered by spiritual masters of every tradition.

    In Saint John of the Cross, you are invited to enter into the mind and heart of one of contemplative Christianitys greatest visionaries. Through his writing and poetry, John of the Cross shares his wisdom for how we can abide in pure presence, which paths we can follow to bring clarity and peace to our souls, and how we can nurture a love that can transform even our most painful trials into an ecstatic communion with God.


    Mirabai Starr teaches philosophy and world religions at the University of New Mexico, and is the author of new translations of Dark Night of the Soul by John of the Cross and The Interior Castle and The Book of My Life by Teresa of Avila. She lives in Taos.
  • Mirabai Starr

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    Dark Night of the Soul, by the sixteenth-century Spanish mystic John of the Cross, has been the single most important spiritual book in my life. It embodies the perennial wisdom found at the heart of all the worlds spiritual traditions: surrender into the absolute loving mystery of the Divine.
    When I was a teenager, I became deeply involved in Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam. I was especially drawn to the Persian poet Rumi, who exquisitely harnessed the language of human love to express the yearning of the soul for union with God. In my early twenties, I encountered the Christian saint John of the Cross. I instantly recognized him as "the Rumi of Spain." Johns ecstatic love poems to the Holy One echoed the transforming passion of his Sufi counterpart. Reading his poems in their original Spanish has been among the most powerful spiritual experiences of my life.
    In 2002, I was given the privilege of translating Dark Night of the Soul into accessible English, which I followed with translations of Johns spiritual mentor, Teresa of Avila. My focus as a translator of the Spanish mystics has been primarily on the prose teachings. It was not until I was asked to compile this book for Sounds True that I was given the opportunity to render a wider range of Johns poetry.
    John of the Cross claims-as all mystics do-that union with the Divine transcends all language and all concepts. Yet he devotes himself to the paradox of expressing the ineffable through the vehicle of mystical poetry. The results are so successful that his poems throw open the doors of the heart and invite the reader into a direct relationship with the Beloved. This poetry serves not only as a spiritual reminder, but also as a tangible tool for transformation.
    In this book, I intersperse descriptive prose teachings with evocative poems. Many, though not all, of the translations are my own. Four themes rise to the surface of this mystical elixir: the longing of the soul for union with the Divine; the contemplative power of silence; the knowing that comes only from unknowing; and the wild, sweet dance of mystical love.
    It is my prayer that the purity of these wisdom teachings strips all impediments from your mind, inviting you to meet your Beloved naked and free.

    - Mirabai Starr August 2007


Saint John of the Cross: Devotions, Prayers and Living Wisdom