The Ascent of Mount Carmel
By Juan Ypes (St. John of the Cross)
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The following verses were written by St. John of the Cross, the Spanish mystic of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, after having spent many months imprisoned in a small cell in Toledo, in 1578. These verses are from his drawing "The Ascent of Mount Carmel," which contained instructions for climbing to the summit, the high state of union:
To reach satisfaction in all
desire its possession in nothing.
To come to the knowledge of all
desire the knowledge of nothing.
To come to possess all
desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at being all
desire to be nothing.
To come to the pleasure which you have not
you must go by a way in which you enjoy not.
To come to the knowledge which you have not
you must go by a way in which you know not.
To come to the possession you have not
you must go by a way in which you possess not.
To come to be what you are not
you must go by a way in which you are not.
When you turn toward something
you cease to cast yourself upon the all.
For to go from the all to the all
you must leave yourself in all.
And when you come to the possession of the all
you must possess it without wanting anything.
In this nakedness the spirit finds
its quietude and rest.
For in coveting nothing,
nothing raises it up
and nothing weighs it down,
because it is the center of its humility.