Fifty-five mystics or mystical theologians, ancient and modern, are represented, including: Origen, Augustine of Hippo, Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, Bonaventure, Angela of Foligno, Catherine of Siena, the anonymous author of Cloud of Unknowing, Thomas a' Kempis, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Francis de Sales, Therese of Lisieux, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Merton, and Karl Rahner.
Walters draws on the tradition of the mystic emerging from the wasteland to help guide our modern spiritual journey into our own inner desert. Terrifying yet welcoming, filled with both danger and promise, this psychic wilderness is where our inner demons must be fought, our false self unmasked, and our souls reborn. We are then renewed as our original selves, fused with God. The essence of love is reaching out, so the final step in the process of rebirth is to reach out to others in compassion and empathy.
Dark Night of the Soul follows the soul's journey from a state of abandonment and darkness to a loving union with God. In a voice at once grandiose and melodious, and a style that combines the systematic theology of St. Thomas Aquinas with rapturous poetry, St. John describes the process of moving away from routine religious rituals and embracing a Being who can be known only through love. His words, Peers writes, "are a wonderful illustration of the theological truth that grace, far from destroying nature, ennobles and dignifies it, and of the agreement always found between the natural and the supernatural -- between the principles of sound reason and the sublime manifestations of Divine grace." One of the greatest contributions to the literature of mysticism, Dark Night of the Soul offers support and encouragement to all who seek oneness with God.
Celebrated for almost five centuries as a master of spiritual literature, 16th-century saint Teresa of Avila is one of the most beloved religious figures in history. Overcome one day by a mystical vision of a crystal castle with seven chambers, each representing a different stage in spiritual development, Teresa immediately wrote The Interior Castle. Probably her most important and widely studied work, it guides the spiritual seeker through each stage of development until the soul's final union with the divine. Free of religious dogma, this modern translation renders St. Teresa's work a beautiful and practical set of teachings for seekers of all faiths in need of spiritual guidance. It also places this classic book on spirituality —"a gem of mystical literature made accessible and relevant to the modern spiritual seeker" –Sharon Salzberg—in a contemporary context, reasserting its literary importance even after more than 400 years.