Study Guide for The Ascent


Study Guide for The Ascent of Mount Carmel

It is with not a little trepidation that I make this available to all. No matter how one goes about it, there is a certain amount of presumption in producing such a guide.

I don't know its worth as it is untested material. Please send any feedback you, or anyone you know how may use it, may have. It would be nice to have the series of these available to any who hope to study The Ascent of Mount Carmel in the future.

A few caveats. The edition used for this study is the Complete Works of St. John of the Cross from ICS publications. I do not pretend to be expert in these matters--I am not. I am a student as anyone who choses to undertake these readings. As a result, expect limitations. Also, the audience I am writing for needs direction not just in the esoterica but also in the basic flow and connection of the ideas. Much of the study guide is aimed in that direction. I can assure you that I will endeavor to improve the quality of this work as it continues; however, feedback would be most helpful.

Anyone who wishes to is welcome to use this. If you have a study group or other group that needs to use them, please feel free to make copies for them--but include my name and contact information so that I can use any feedback to improve them. If you have need of it, write to me at my email address, and I can send you a Word-formatted doc so that the whole thing looks a bit better.

Without further ado, here it is:

Study Guide for The Ascent of Mount Carmel

Assignment 1: p. 114-123—Prologue, Book I—Chapters 1, 2, 3. Read through the assigned pages at least twice. The first time get an overall sense of what is being said. The second time you may want to pencil in “subheads” for each section or small groups of sections. For example, a subhead for the Prologue sections 5-7 might read: On Spiritual Direction. (Sections are numbered in the text)

Study Questions
Section 2
What is to be St. John’s primary help in discussing “this dark night”? Why?

Section 3
Why do soul not advance toward union with the divine? Which of these is most likely in your own case? Take this consideration with you to prayer and/or adoration.

Sections 4-5
For whom is this book written? For what purpose? What does St. John of the Cross have to say about spiritual directors? What should you be looking for in a spiritual director?

Sections 6-7
Note at least three cautions St. John gives regarding spiritual direction and directors.

Section 8
Why will some have difficulty with this doctrine? (Ignore St. John’s explanation of his own inadequacy.)

Section 9
What essential quality does St. John demand of all those for whom the book is intended?

Book 1 Chapter 1

Sections 1-3
What and how many are the “nights” a soul passes through? What is the ultimate goal? At what points should one expect these nights?

Section 4-5
What does St. John of the Cross tell us about ridding ourselves of appetites?

Book 1 Chapter 2
Section 1
What are three reasons for calling the journey toward union a dark night?

Sections 2-5
Where does St. John say the dark night is represented in Scripture? Read these scriptures. How does St. John interpret the instructions of the Angel?

Chapter 3
Read this chapter several times—it is extremely difficult at first and only becomes clear with additional reading and prayer. Pay particular attention to section 4. Paragraph 2 of section 4 is a critical key to this portion of the reading. Note the first sentence. What is the difference between “lacking” and “nakedness?” Write an example using John’s analogy of the sense of one that lacks and one that is naked. What is another word for this nakedness? How does one attain it?

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 2, 2003 8:50 AM.

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