With encouragement I continue my humble attempt to read and begin to understand the Ascent of Mt Carmel. As I read, its beauty starts shining through, but as a mere ember or a light I am beginning to see at a distance. I offer my thoughts most certainly not as any type of authority, but as a pilgrim, someone trying to catch this glimpse of the depth of John of the Cross and one who writes in an attempt to understand.
Observations from Chapter IV:
What communion can there be between light and darkness? Attachment to things other than God makes us more like these things. The greater the attachment, the greater the similarity. Love creates a bond , a likeness between the lover and the loved. Love can also addict us to the lover, binding us to them.
Favour is deceitful and beauty vain.
We can easily be deceived by that which we love, fooled, transfixed. We seek beauty as a replacement for emptiness and are then deceived by its vanity. It is true of our pursuit of God as well. If we think we know God through knowledge and our ability we are truly ignorant. We have to learn to unknow.
From Chapter V:
We have to exhaust ourselves of things of this world to be worthy of God. We can not intermingle our desire for God with our desire for the world. We need to raise ourselves up to higher things, things worthy of our attention, making all things equal diminishes the more important. The soul must ascend the mount alone, we can not allow the “beasts” – our desires- to climb with us.
In the state of perfection every desire ceases.
Those on the path to God need to habitually quell desires, passions and attachments and the quicker we can do this the quicker we will reach the end of our journey. The soul must cast away all strange gods – desires and attachments), purify itself and change its garments – which God does. Only then can we ascend the mount and make of ourselves an altar to God in the sacrifice of pure love, praise and pure reverence.
God will change our garments from old to new creating a new under understanding of God in God a new love of God in God.