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The Contemplative Way
James Finley, Ph.D
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Saint John of the Cross: Love Alone

A weekend retreat devoted to exploring the teachings of the 16th century Spanish mystic Saint John of the Cross. After introducing Saint John of the Cross and his teachings for beginners, this retreat goes on to focus on his insights into the higher stages of the spiritual path in which our life merges and becomes one with God's own life. Closely following the saint's teachings in The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love, the retreat will focus on the heights of mystical union with God that are possible for us on this earth. Even if we do not reach the heights of mystical union John of the Cross speaks of, it is encouraging to see what is possible for us, as we open and surrender ourselves to God in our life. Time will be given for group meditation, personal reflection and discussion of the themes presented.

(Note: This John of the Cross retreat can be offered either as a follow up to the "passing through the dark night" retreat or as the initial retreat on Saint John of the Cross. In beginning this retreat I always begin by summarizing the main teachings presented in the introductory "passing through the dark night" retreat).

The topics covered in the conferences include:
  • The life of Saint of the Cross, an introduction to his basic teachings.
  • The beginnings of the spiritual life-being transformed in the dark night.
  • The transforming power of our unconsummated longings.
  • Yielding to the love that transforms us into itself.
  • Cautions against self-deception.
  • The mutual, total surrender between God and ourselves that occurs in mystical marriage.
Suggested Reading

Kavanaugh, Kieran & Otillio Rodriguez (trans). The Collected Works of Saint John of the Cross. ICS Publications, Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1991.

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