St. John of the Cross portrays Mount Carmel as the mystical height of Christian spirituality and union with God. In Ascent of Mount Carmel, St. John of the Cross dissects each phase of Christian spiritual growth—both triumphs and defeats—in order to produce a manual for Christian asceticism. The spiritual considerations of St. John of the Cross have encouraged the spiritual growth of Christians for over four centuries—including the academic and spiritual development of Pope John Paul II.
St. John of the Cross was born in 1542 in Spain and was a major figure of the Counter-Reformation. He died in 1591.