The Next Installment of the Study Guide
Ascent of Mount Carmel V
Read pages 149-153 (Book 1, Chapters 13-15). Chapter 13 is the key chapter of the entire first book.
What does the first sentence tell you about the purpose of this chapter. What is the “active way”? Why is it important? What is the “passive way”? Who initiates it? Why does John want to set our advice here?
What is the first critical element of the active night of the sense? Why is this so? Read the last sentence of section 3 again—what does this seem to require of us?
What motive is most likely to help us in the imitation of Christ? Why? Look at John’s two examples and write down two similar examples from you own experience that you can begin to act on right now.
What is the purpose of the maxims that follow?
*(6) (Key Section 1)
Choose one of the statement that being “not to” and explain it in your own words. Name two ways that you could begin to put this maxim into effect. How might you begin to put all of them into action? Pray about it and discern a reasonable plan of action.
(7) What is likely to be a major obstacle to your success in entering this first dark night and beginning the Ascent?
How does the advice here help with the advice in section 6. What is John truly saying here?
What is the path of the Ascent. (Look back at the diagram on page 110-111) Is it possible to fail in the Ascent? How? Is the most direct route the easiest? the most sure?
*(12-13) (Key Section 2)
Summarize the teaching of these sections in a sentence or two that you can write down and carry with you. What is St. John of the Cross telling us about the conduct of the spiritual life here? Jesus tells us “He who sets hand to the plow and looks back is not worthy of the kingdom of God.” How are these statements similar?
What is St. John’s point in these sections? How do they support the critical information in chapter 13?
How can we mentally and spiritually prepare ourselves to enter the Dark Night and thus begin our Ascent? Pray, consult with your spiritual director, and make you own plan for preparing yourself to carry out St. John’s teaching. Or perhaps you are already well along this road, what can you do to perfect your practice of it? Perhaps you are in a dry place waiting for God to take control. What practices might you implement that will sustain you through the dryness?