Saint John of the Cross is the Church’s premier teacher on contemplative prayer. Catholic tradition even calls him the Mystical Doctor. The sixteenth-century Carmelite priest not only wrote four massive treatises on the spiritual life, along with some of the finest poetry in the Spanish language, but also worked alongside Teresa of Ávila in renewing the Carmelite order. Thérèse of Lisieux claimed she found no other spiritual reading that could satisfy her soul like John of the Cross.
Yet the volume and intensity of Saint John’s work can make his teachings seem daunting, even to trained theologians. This book by Father Donald Haggerty, author of The Contemplative Hunger and Contemplative Enigmas, offers readers a unique step-by-step introduction to the way of contemplation as Saint John understood it and taught it—a burning, transformative intimacy with the God who made us. Furnished abundantly with quotations from across the Mystical Doctor’s writings, this guidebook confronts the mysteries, difficulties, and joys of prayer, showing how silent contemplation prepares our hearts for an unspeakable love.
For all his theological richness, Saint John gave practical, realistic advice on navigating the world of contemplation, and Father Haggerty—a spiritual director for decades—applies these principles to our lives today. Whether you are new to prayer or have been praying since childhood, you will find an illuminating and surprising companion in Saint John of the Cross: Master of Contemplation.