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14th December - Solemnity of St. John of the Cross

Posted on 14th December, 2016


'Think nothing else but that God ordains all,

and where there is no love, put love,

and you will draw out love.'

St. John of the Cross



John de Yepes was born in 1542 at Fontiveros (Spain) and entered the Carmelite Order in 1563. In 1568 he became, at St. Teresa’s suggestion, one of the first two Friars of the Discalced reform, taking the name of John of the Cross. He was a heroic defender of the reform for the rest of his life. He died at Ubeda in 1591, and from that time he has enjoyed great esteem for sanctity and for the spiritual wisdom to which his writings testify.



'Enter within yourself and work in the presence of your Bridegroom, who is ever present loving you.'




A reading from The Spiritual Canticle (Redaction 2, st. 5) by St. John of the Cross

Traces of the divine beauty in creation


The answer created things give to the soul (which interrogates them by reflecting on them) is, as St. Augustine declares, the testimony that they in themselves give the soul of God’s grandeur and excellence. God created all things with remarkable ease and brevity, and in them he left some trace of who he is, not only in giving all things being from nothing, but even by endowing them with innumerable graces and qualities, making them beautiful in a wonderful order and unfailing dependence on one another. All of this he did through his own Wisdom, the Word, his only begotten Son by whom he created them.


Saint Paul says, ‘The Son of God is the splendour of his glory and the countenance of his substance.’ It should be known that only with this countenance, his Son, did God look at all things, that is, he communicated to them their natural being and many natural graces and gifts, and made them complete and perfect, as is said in Genesis: ‘God looked at all things that he made, and they were very good.’ To look and behold that they were very good was to make them very good in the Word, his Son.


Not only by looking at them did he communicate natural being and graces, as we said, but also with this countenance of this Son alone, he clothed them in beauty by imparting to them supernatural being. This he did when he became man and elevated human nature into the beauty of God and consequently all creatures, since in human nature he was united with them all.


Accordingly, the Son of God proclaimed: ‘If I be lifted up from the earth, I will elevate all things to me.’ And in this elevation of all things through the incarnation of his Son and through the glory of his resurrection according to the flesh, the Father did not merely beautify creatures partially, but rather can we say, clothed them wholly in beauty and dignity.



Christ of St. John of the Cross



Prayer of a Soul Taken with Love


Lord God, my Beloved, if you still remember my sins in such a way that you do not do what I beg of you, do your will concerning them, my God, which is what I most desire, and exercise your goodness and mercy, and you will be known through them. And if you are waiting for my good works so as to hear my prayer through their means, grant them to me, and work them for me, and the sufferings you desire to accept, and let it be done. But if you are not waiting for my works, what is it that makes you wait, my most clement Lord? Why do you delay? For if, after all, I am to receive the grace and mercy that I entreat of you in your Son, take my mite, since you desire it, and grant me this blessing, since you also desire that.


Who can free themselves from lowly manners and limitations if you do not lift them to yourself, my God, in purity of love? How will human beings begotten and nurtured in lowliness rise up to you, Lord, if you do not raise them with your hand that made them?


You will not take from me, my God, what you once gave me in your only Son, Jesus Christ, in whom you gave me all I desire. Hence I rejoice that if I wait for you, you will not delay.


With what procrastinations do you wait, since from this very moment you can love God in your heart?


Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me. What do you ask, then, and seek, my soul? Yours is all of this, and all is for you. Do not engage yourself in something less or pay heed to the crumbs that fall from your Father’s table. Go forth and exult in your Glory! Hide yourself in it and rejoice, and you will obtain the supplications of your heart.



St. John of the Cross


'What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetite and with our tongue, for the language he best hears is silent love.'






you endowed our Father St. 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.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.





'When evening comes, you will be examined in love.'

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