Tag Archives: St John of the Cross

Saint John of the Cross

Juan de la CruzToday, we mark the liturgical memorial of a magnificent saint (all saints are magnificent!), the 16th century Carmelite friar, John of the Cross.

A friend posted the following on contemplation:

“Contemplation is nothing less than a secret, peaceful and loving infusion from God. The road of contemplation is where God himself feeds and refreshes the soul directly, without the soul’s help or meditation.

There is a remarkable transformation of the heart’s desires as a result of surrendering to God in our soul’s center. Our desire and God’s desire now join in a consonance of desire.

The nature of love is to be united, linked up with and at one with the object of its love. Only love unites and cements the soul with God. The soul lives in that which it loves.

Prayer, by its nature, involves a sense of incompleteness and thus of longing in truth.

The more God wants to give us, the more He makes us desire–even to the point of leaving us empty in order to fill us with goods. Be careful that you do not lack the desire to be poor and in want.

In following Christ in the contemplative way, without laying down one’s own ground rules and conditions, we grow into dimensions of the reality of God’s love which lie beyond what we can comprehend, experience or place in any systematic order. We are stripped of all guarantees which are rooted in the self, and we begin to live on the faith, trust and love that we have for God. We now experience God more as he is–as sheer Mystery.

Prayer ultimately leads us to go beyond anything that can be known. We travel unknowing into an unknown land and we learn how to stay there, knowing naught.”

Happiness and fullness of being in communion, not suffering, did God make us

God did not create us for suffering and renunciation,
but for happiness, for life; not for an ephemeral happiness during life in this
world, but for an eternal and unfailing life, which can be found in God alone.
However, God passes by unnoticed by our senses, whereas the things of this
world press upon us and entice us from all sides, leading us to seek our
happiness in them.

From this arises the necessity of controlling and mortifying
their immoderate tendency toward pleasure, their looking for satisfaction in
creatures. For those who desire to attain to the fullness of life in God, St.
John of the Cross, in full accord with the gospel, suggests that they gradually
accustom themselves to gving up any sensory satisfaction that is not
purely for the honor and glory of God. . .out of love for Jesus Christ. In his
life, he had no other gratification, nor desired any other, than the
fulfillment of his Father’s will which he called his meat and food (Ascent of
Mount Carmel
I 13-4).

Again it is a question of not seeking our joy and delight
in pleasures of sense, which satisfy selfishness, self-love, and attachment to
creatures, but in the will of God, in what pleases him. If we would be
spiritual persons, we must force ourselves to change the direction of our inclination
toward pleasure by detaching it from the goods of earth and turning it
decisively toward God, until we can repeat with Jesus: I always do what is
pleasing to him (John 8:29).

Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen,
Divine Intimacy

Saint John the Cross

John of the Cross.jpg

The Church puts on our lips for the feast of John of the Cross which ought to fully orient our life in action:
“May I never boast, except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).

Today is the feast of the great Spanish Carmelite priest, mystic, and poet, Saint John of the Cross (1542-91). John is also a Doctor of the Church. He’s most remembered for his writings and his work with Saint Teresa of Avila for reforming the Carmelite Order.

John of the Cross is widely regarded as one of the best Spanish poets ever. He’s the author of the acclaimed Spiritual Cantical, Dark Night of the Soul and the Ascent of Mount Carmel.

We pray…
O God, who gave the Priest Saint John an outstanding dedication to perfect self-denial and love of he Cross, grant that, by imitating him closely at all times, we may come to contemplate eternally your glory.
My soul is occupied,
And all my substance is His service;
Now I guard no flock,
Nor have I any other employment:
My sole occupation is love.
Spiritual Cantical, 28

Saint John of the Cross

“My sole occupation is love,” Saint John of the Cross said.

St John of the Cross3.jpg

Para venir a gustarlo

quieras tener gusto en nada;

para venir a poseerlo

quieras poseer algo en nada;

para venir a serlo

quieras ser algo en nada;

para venir a saberlo

quieras saber algo en nada;

para venir a lo que
no gustas,

    has de
ir por donde no gustas;

para venir a lo que
no sabes,

de ir por donde no sabes;

para venir a lo que
no posees,

de ir por donde no posees;

para venir a lo que
no eres,

de ir por donde no eres.

(San Juan de la Cruz – Subida 1,13,11)

Saint John of the Cross

St John of the Cross5.jpgFather, You endowed John of the Cross with a spirit of
self-denial and a love of the cross. By following his example, may we come to
the eternal vision of Your glory.

A brief bio on Saint John of the Cross
The Catholic Encyclopedia article on Saint John of the Cross

The fundamental principle of
St. John’s theology is that God is All and the creature is nothing. Therefore,
in order to arrive at perfect union with God, in which sanctity consists, it is
necessary to undergo an intense and profound purification of all the faculties
and powers of soul and body. The Ascent–Dark Night
the entire process of purgation, from the active purification of the external
senses to the passive purification of the highest faculties; The Living
and The Spiritual Canticle describe the perfection of the
spiritual life in the transforming union. The entire path to union is
“night” because the soul travels by faith. St. John of the Cross
presents his teaching in a systematic manner, with the result that it is
spiritual theology in the best sense of the word; not because it is systematic,
but because it uses as its sources Sacred Scripture, theology and personal

(from Fr. Jordan Auman, OP, Christian Spirituality in the
Catholic Tradition
, 1985)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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