St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), a Spanish mystic, priest, and friar, was considered a major figure of the Catholic Reformation and a founder – alongside St. Teresa of Avila – of the Discalced (“barefoot”) Carmelites. He was well known for his prolific writings on the soul united with God in prayer that revealed profound mystical expressions, experiences, and insights. His commentaries depend on positive statements about God, first for their context – enabling the mind to be directed in attention and love toward God and no other – and second for their verbal expression. This state of being directed toward God is typified when the mind is moved toward a loving, non-conceptual knowledge of God, setting aside images and concepts.
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