La Stella del Carmelo





The title: "In the dark path towards new dimensions", combines two sentences by St. John of the Cross: "path of dark contemplation" (2S 7,13) and: "along new ways" (2N 16,8). In the original text in Spanish, the language of the Mystic Doctor, the two texts sound like this: "senda de oscura contemplacion" (2S 7,13) and  "por nuevos caminos" (2N 16,8).


Some extracts of three articles written for La Stella del Carmelo, the Journal of the Istituto di Spiritualità Santa Teresa di Gesù Bambino of Discalced Carmelites in Pisa, are here quoted.


  • The first article: "La salita del monte in san Giovanni della Croce" (2000/1), is an introduction to the two distinct treatises Ascent of Mount Carmel and Dark Night by St. John of the Cross.
  • The second article: "La preghiera contemplativa" (2001/2) introduces into the mystery of Christian prayer, the fourth part of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • The third article: "Giovanni della Croce: atteggiamento contemplativo nella chiesa" (2009/1), highlights the new contemplative dimensions that gradually reveal themselves in "conversation with God in the spirit" (2S 17,5).


As a triptych, the three articles introduce in a linear form into the mystic theology of St. John of the Cross; they represent a first approach to the book: "Il sentiero mistico di Giovanni della Croce. Mistica esplorativa nel nuovo millennio" (Nerbini Publisher, Florence 2008)








- La Stella del Carmelo 2000/1 -




Created for Love by God, the man is destined to the union with this Love, through a way of recovery, of gradual internalization, that leads from the more exterior to the more interior, the life of the spirit.



- a mystic path


Created for Love by God, the man is destined to the union with this Love, through a 'way' of 'recovery', of gradual internalization, that from the more exterior, the life of the senses, goes to the more interior, the life of the spirit, "in order - the Saint explains- that we may proceed from the lesser to the greater, and from the more exterior to the more interior until we reach the more interior recollection wherein the soul is united with God" (2S 12,1).


The project of grace of the "Ascent" is all here: in the "union with God" (1S 1,3), towards whom the soul prepares itself in "purity and love" (2S 5,8).

Through the "Ascent", divided into three books, St. John of the Cross shows us how God introduces and leads the mankind in His eternal mystery of love. This project of supernatural communion occurs in the night or purification: in the active form of the sense (first book); in the active form of the spirit (second and third book); in the passive form of the "fourth" book, The Dark Night, where the Mystic Doctor explains the Divine effects that the perfect union produces in the soul.


The Ascent, therefore, is like a mystagogical walk or mystic path of purity and love that introduces into the mystery of God. A way that is a dark night for those, as the Mystic Doctor explains, "to whom God is granting the favour of setting them on the road to this Mount" (S,  prologue, 9). The peak of the Mount that is the "summit of the union" (1S 13,10).








La Stella del Carmelo 2001/2 -




Each method of contemplation aims at encouraging the contemplative prayer: it teaches watching, with a loving attitude, that God who revealed himself and spoke us in His Son Jesus.



- an interior state, secret and delicious


We speak about contemplative prayer as that form of prayer by which "the Lord- as St. John of the Cross writes- shows His presence in many devout souls in diverse ways, in refreshment, joy, and gladness" (CB 11,3). Here it is affirmed that, in reply to the grace, contemplative prayer leads Christians to the dialogue with the Living God that "linger" (DV 2) with the sons of man, giving them refreshment and joy.


We have only to think to the experience of the Eden, that, literally, means "the garden of the delightful", where Lord God walking in the cool of the day (Gen 3,8) shows His "gladness" (Pr  8,31) lingering with our first parents in an affectionate friendship. In such a context the Eden is the secret and delightful state in which they are attracted by the passage of the divine breeze.


In this interior and secret state "of the spirit", very delightful for the Divine Beloved, St. John of the Cross teaches that, in the state of innocence "all that our first parents were furnished with greater sweetness of contemplation" (3S 26,5). In the perfect contemplation the soul "recovers that state of innocence which was Adam's" (2N 24,2), and, in such a condition, "the act of prayer and communion with God is now wholly an act of love" (CB 28,9).









La Stella del Carmelo 2009/1 




The contemplative attitude of the Teresian Carmel tries to focus the evangelical centre: the cult in the spirit, and reveals it, "with a whole faith", in "conversation with God in the spirit".



- two beautiful eyes outlined in my heart


In a life "according to the faith" (CB prologue 2) "as it were by night in darkness" (1S 1,1) those who "well disposed" (CB 1,22)  are looking for God, discover, to their amazement, two beautiful eyes outlined in their hearts (CB 12,5): order and sweetness, self-denial and purity.


With "order and sweetness" (2S 17,2), they climb the stairs  from the "musica callada"  (CB 15) of the famous "nada"  (1S 13,11 13), and they start to explore new dimensions of the way of contemplation, "so solitary and secret" (2N 25,2).

With "self denial and purity" (2S 7,5), they have a look at the "first precept" (2N 11,4) and in their continuous "conversation with God",  they go into the "soledad sonora" (CB 15) made up of transcendental echoes, even though of arcane sounds of the "todo y nada" (1S 13,11-13).


To these two limpid eyes, "as fire" (Ap 1,14), Christ with his beautiful eyes outlined in the heart" (CB12,5), is directed the grateful act of those who search God. The title "well disposed" (CB 1,22) fits well our explorer, because with the help of these beautiful eyes he proceeds with a wonderful progression  "por nuevos caminos" (2N 16,8).