St. John of the Cross described the stanzas of his poem, The Living Flame of Love, as the “songs of the soul in the intimate communication of the union of love with God.” The verses capture the mystical vistas from the summit of the saint’s spiritual journey, describing the mystery and powerful experience of divine transformation as the soul encounters and unites with the pure love of God.
After the poem’s composition and at the request of his friend, the laywoman Doña Ana de Peñalosa, St. John of the Cross wrote the prose commentary that represents his final word on the journey of the soul’s transformation toward union with God. In these verses and commentary, our saintly guide teaches us as the “Mystical Doctor of the Church,” but also as a gentle pastor. Readers can aptly place themselves in the position of Doña Ana—a fellow soul on this journey of transformation in God’s grace—following this holy shepherd along the narrow paths of purification toward our eternal dwelling place in God and union with him.
In this study edition, Father Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D., offers important context and contemporary interpretive notes concerning the teaching of St. John of the Cross in The Living Flame of Love. This edition includes:
Study guides provided throughout the book, which provide helpful guidance and explanation; A glossary of terms offering definitions as they pertain to John’s specific usage throughout the work; Comprehensive indexes of key themes and biblical references, which make this edition an indispensable reference resource. The indexes are fully linked. With the combination of a modern scholarly translation of St. John of the Cross’s text and a contemporary commentary, The Living Flame of Love: Study Edition affords readers the opportunity to gain a much deeper appreciation for the beauty and richness of St. John’s perennial teaching on the experience and science of love.