St John of
the Cross, 1542-1591. The Doctor of Mystical Theology, Feast Dec 14th.
you sincerely desire inspiration to the fullest of your being, read
John. Entreat him to guide you! He awaits your request. This
particular doctor has a heavenly gift to bestow favors upon those
who prayerfully petition him because he is so richly endowed.
before his religious life as Juan de Yepes, he is truly considered
the mystical doctor not only by the Carmelite Order to which he
wholeheartedly belonged but also for all posterity. His appeal and
gifts are for the universal church and for all creatures who seek
union with God in prayer and action. God poured his Spirit in him
quite abundantly. John is a master and a marvel beyond description
when it comes to the imitation of Christ. He lived a thoroughly,
holy, prayerful life and expressed it with generous, Christian words
God leads us, generally, through the visible
rather than the invisible. No better guide than the mystical doctor
will you ever find. However, this saint is so subtle and profound
that he is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. St John will
marvelously lead you, usually, through someone else. John relied on
others and allowed himself to be recruited by Teresa of Avila in her
reform of Carmel. She sensed in him a holiness and wisdom that would
help her in the renewal of the Order of the Virgin, especially with
the men. John was one of the original founders of the new order that
God inspired St Teresa to initiate and played a vital role in many
important offices that he held.
When you are led by others,
as John, you will become more humble and less susceptible to pride.
In the spiritual ascent to God, there are many pitfalls, ambushes
and spiritual traps for those who aspire for intimate union with
God. When we allow God to completely purify us in this life and
fully cooperate with God's Spirit, and those providentially selected
for us, we will be in for such an awakening and amazement that we
will not believe could be possible. This will normally happen ever
God wants to inflame our souls. Thoughts of
making spiritual acts of love become more acute, tangible and most
consuming. The presence of God’s love becomes more alive, real and
spiritually passionate. One becomes preoccupied in how to love more
but the anxiety is gentle and not disturbing. In this stage of one’s
life, there doesn’t seem enough time to love. One begins to long for
eternity and is caught up in contemplation. One’s greatest sorrow
will be focused on not having loved enough, more than, sorrow for
All Christians, no matter the division or
denomination, have union with God if they possess charity. Charity
is the life of love. It is the life of God. To be charitable is to
be a Christian. There are many forms of love but the noblest is the
love that shares, gives unstintingly and unreservedly. The Greek
word for this love is called Agape. It is pure and perfect. It
becomes transforming love when it is sacrificial for helping others
at great cost to oneself. Jesus said it best: greater love than this
no one has than to lay down one's very life for others-even if they
are enemies or friends. Jesus wanted all to be his friends. This
included his traitor, Judas. In Gethsemane, on the night of his
arrest, he asked: Judas, have you come to betray me with a kiss? He
did not shrink from being kissed by Judas to show that he desires
all to approach him confidently if we can. Jesus is tenderly
approachable to transform us. We can be sure that Jesus kissed his
friends and love ones more frequently than is recorded in the
gospels. Other books by reputable holy people also mentioned that
Jesus shed more tears than the few occasions mentioned in
Jesus Christ’s leading human and divine
characteristics were his extraordinary warmth and affection showed to
all especially sinners who were truly sorry for bad deeds, those
struggling with temptations and especially those who were eager to
return to God’s friendship and belong wholly to him.
knew we could only give to others what we receive from God.
John's charity was most generous. He will, usually, direct you to
find a spiritual guide if you sincerely petition him. You should
trust and submit to that person. God normally works through others
although any holy and wise person on earth or in heaven can directly
guide you. It does not matter who leads you to union. St John
exhorts all to aim for union. Long for union. Pray for union. One
has to be led to obtain union. It can come at the beginning, the
middle or end of our spiritual journey. Pray that it may come soon.
A unionized person is guided and is led as God ordains-with an
almighty, spiritual power. Spiritual love becomes a consummate
God may prefer to guide you by the Father, Son or
Holy Spirit. Frequently God uses his Mother, Mary. Personally, God
leads us through our own guardian angel. God leads most of us
through the church. Remember that there is a price to be paid for
union with God. Read St John of the Cross to discover the nature of
union. His writings have the power to attract and excite you to a
deeper union with God. Some of his books include:
The Ascent of Mt.
The Dark Night,
The Living Flame of Love
and The Spiritual
John was criticized, deprived, beaten, berated and
even imprisoned by the very Religious Order he so earnestly hoped to
help. He is perhaps the most misunderstood doctor of the church
precisely because he is the most mystical. The signs, signals and
proof of God's overwhelming endorsement of St John of Cross to aid
us are too many to conceive. John's union with God was total and
The mystical doctor was quite ordinary, natural and
down to earth. His virtues, gifts and holiness were extra-ordinary.
His natural gifts were shown to become supernaturalized both in life
and death. For example, after John’s death not even lime would
destroy his bones. There was a deliberate attempt to hasten the
decompositon of his bodily remains for specific reasons. However, John's purity,
innocence and love of God exceeded all natural causes and God has
perserved his remains even to this day, I believe. He is an
To understand this phenomenon
about St John and others, read The Incorruptibles listed in the
sources. To read additional information about these types of
miracles in the lives of the saints, go to Joan Carroll Cruz's books
listed in the sources or go to www.google.com and type in Joan Carroll Cruz.
When it comes to the mystical life,
everything is summed up by the "Beloved Apostle", St John the
Evangelist, when he stated that God is Love. The "Mystical Doctor"
added a dimension by saying that Love is repaid by Love alone and
again: Love is only repaid by Love. The emphases here is that the
Spirit of God within the Deity and within humans, as God's bounty and
gifts allow, is the same Spirit. God alone repays Himself according
to God's infinite wisdom in time and eternity.
understood that all creatures were "robbers." Because of our human
nature, weakness and sin, we theoretically "robbed" the Father of
the Son for thirty-three years. Actually, the Son never left the
Father because they are one. John's wisdom comprehended that God's
love was effusive and eternally generous. However, for John, life
had to have a payback to God because of the lavish gift of the Son
from the Father not only in the Eternal Word, but also in the Word
made Flesh-Jesus. Only Love is paid back by the Spirit of Love
dwelling in our hearts and minds. John attempted to help everyone be
aware of the union of our hearts with God in transformation to
effect the payback. He lived, breathed, worked, wrote, and suffered
in a perfect spirit of charity to reveal how God works and lives in
us. He understood the seven gifts of the Spirit in all of God's
tremendous splendor and glory.
The providence of the Father
allowed him to be kidnapped and kept locked up away from his
monastery. He understood and accepted. Those parents with missing
children, those who have love ones kidnapped or relatives who are
separated have a commiserate friend they can identify and turn to
with John of the Cross. He lived that desolation, isolation and
separation. His intercessory powers are most extraordinary. John
keenly sensed the separation of human and divine love. He was
especially aware of the rarest intimacy of Jesus. John was fully empowered
with all the fruits, favors, beatitudes, blessings, graces and gifts
to share with us.
John received from God the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit in great abundance. Books have been written about these. They are wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord.
Living the beatitudes are
the highest form of perfection possible on earth because Our Lord lived each for us so that we could imitate him. He did not give them to us only to know but to enjoy and take delight in each as he himself revealed to us.
The below quotes are from The Sanctifier by Luis Martinez, former archbishop of Mexico and found in the doctoral resources and links on this site.
“The beatitudes are a marvelous chain of mountains of which each peak is a steppingstone in the sublime ascent that leads to God. Each one of the beatitudes, St Thomas Aquinas says, is something perfect and excellent – a summit in itself; and at the same time it is a beginning of future happiness even in this life. The beatitudes are not remote presages of the eternal fruits, like the rich, full buds that cover the trees in the springtime and foretell the wealth of the coming autumn; they are the actual first fruits that begin to appear on the branches, awaiting the opulence of maturity. They are something divine that God wills to deposit on earth. They are ‘heavenly-colored hyacinths' brilliant in the muddy water of these mortal and transitory life."
"The first step to be taken by one who wishes to attain the mountaintop is to abandon the road that leads downward. Thus, the first thing we must do if we are to reach the blessed life described in the beatitudes is to renounce, sincerely and fully, the deceptive joy of that the world offers…”
“Very few people have the courage to be happy. It is difficult to tear the heart away from the things of earth, from riches, from honors. Yet happiness is not outside us, in these things: ‘The kingdom of God is within you’ For the kingdom of God does not consist in food and drink, but in justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”.
“…tears either come from love or lead to it…The first three beatitudes teach us to die; they disclose the secret of the death – which gives sweetness and joy -… Fruitful tears that fall on the tomb of Lazarus, and like them, produce the prodigy whereby life comes from death!-"
John's fruits came from grace and long practice of holy prayer and sacrifice and included: charity, joy, peace, patience, longanimity, goodness, benignity, mildness, faith, modesty, confinency, and chastity.
The favors and blessings that John received from God are all clearly seen in his writings and actions listed in his writings and the legacy he has left. A partial list below is included from Carmelite Studies VI: John Of The Cross edited by Steven Payne, OCD
"HOW IS IT GOD LOVES US?": A HOMILY FOR ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS, John Sullivan, O.C.D.
JOHN OF THE CROSS: THE PERSON, HIS TIMES, HIS WRITINGS, Michael Dodd, O.C.D.
FREE TO LOVE: NEGATION IN THE DOCTRINE OF JOHN OF THE CROSS, Daniel Chowning, O.C.D.
FAITH AND THE EXPERIENCE OF GOD IN THE UNIVERSITY TOWN OF BAEZA, Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D.
QUALITIES OF A GOOD GUIDE: SPIRITUAL DIRECTION IN JOHN OF THE CROSS'S LETTERS, Kevin Culligan, O.C.D.
JOHN OF THE CROSS FOR CARPENTERS: THE ORDINARY WAY OF THE DARK NIGHT OF FAITH, Denis Read, O.C.D.
JESUS CHRIST IN THE WRITINGS OF JOHN OF THE CROSS, Regis Jordan, O.C.D.
MARY AND THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE WRITINGS OF JOHN OF THE CROSS, Emmanuel J. Sullivan, O.C.D.
JOHN OF THE CROSS: A RADICAL REINTERPRETATION OF DISCIPLESHIP, John M. Lozano, C.M.F.
EMBODIED LOVE IN JOHN OF THE CROSS, Richard P. Hardy, Ph.D.
IMAGERY OF DIVINE LOVE: THE CRUCIFIX DRAWING OF JOHN OF THE CROSS, Graham M. Schweig
THE INFLUENCE OF JOHN OF THE CROSS IN THE UNITED STATES: A PRELIMINARY STUDY, Steven Payne, O.C.D.
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.1992
When you want to understand, explore, tour
and completely comprehend what love is, read, and above all, pray
with John. Our former Holy Father, John Paul II, acted in this manner when
he decided to write one of his doctoral dissertations on St John of
John's writings, example and witness to the gospel
are extraordinary and subtle. John is matchless when it comes to the
mystical life, contemplation and total submission to God in all
things. John is a beloved lover and so caught up and absorbed in God
that it would be impossible not to benefit from his moving, delicate
and delightful words. Some samples of his palpable and celestial
expressions includes: "That you may have pleasure in everything,
seek pleasure in nothing. That you may know everything, seek to know
nothing. That you may possess all things, seek to possess nothing.
That you may be everything, seek to be nothing.”
Carmelite lover of prayer took many of the positive and divine elements
of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainist, Muslim, Baha'i, Sikh, Shinto, Native Africanism, Zoroastrianism, Native Americans, Jewish, Christian, Taoism, and Confucianism and
distilled them into the Judaic Christian science of love that Jesus
spoke and lived. A description of most of these world popular beliefs are listed in the link below.
THE DOCTORS' PRESCRIPTIONS
The principles, philosophies and system of thought
in each of the above categories of belief differ distinctly from
Christianity. Christianity is based upon a Person who had many
titles. He is called the "Man of Contraditions", the "Transcendental
Man" and the "Man of Sorrows". Jesus is more than philosophy or
theology. He is nobler than a system of thought. He is the Eternal
Word. However, more than that, Jesus is the Man-God. That makes
Catholicism different and unique. The Man-God is for all humanity
but faith is necessary to get to know and accept Jesus as God. Our
eyes will not give us the answer to our faith. We need to go beyond
what we see physically to the unseen spiritually. St. John told us
never to trust or rely in visions-no matter what! Even if Jesus
Christ himself appears, do not trust what you see. Faith is better,
nobler, surer and more meritoriously pleasing to God. God remains
invincible and invisible!
Jesus was a Jew. He was a
transformed, renewed and humble Jew. He was a mystery to all
especially the Jewish leaders. They thought he claimed to be greater
than Moses. They were right. That was their stumbling block. Jesus
claimed to be divine. The religious leaders thought he was possessed
by Beelzebub, the prince of devils. He was the Prince of Peace! How
could they get it all wrong? What kind of Spirit lived in Jesus? The
Spirit that hovered over him at the beginning of his public
ministry, in the River Jordan, testified as to who he was. God’s
“Elijah”, John the Baptist, the greatest of the prophets, proclaimed
him as the Lamb of God. His multiple miracles and his resurrection
testify to his divinity.
Mohammad, the prophet, who lived after Christ and died in 632, according to Moslem traditions ascended to heaven. No one saw him die. I was recently made aware of another interesting connection about Mohammad.
What I wrote was a more narrow viewpoint. However, "This is actually combining another tradition with Muhammad's death. The tradition of his ascent to the heavens, known as the Miraj, is related by Sahih Muslim and took place during his lifetime. His death in 632 was a completely mortal death. He was said to have died with his favorite wife, Aisha, at his side and the whole community of Medina was aware of his passing."
Christ was crucified and identifies with all mortals as Savior who came back from the dead to prove he was God. The Islam religion has around one billion followers.
Who ever came back from the dead?
St Thomas was puzzled at that time, seeing Jesus in front of him
after the resurrection. It was too good to be true. It didn’t make
sense. Thomas’ eyes did not give him the answer. Thomas found it
difficult to trust in a person who he knew had died. But, was it a
real body? Did he have bones? Jesus said that a ghost did not have
bones as he had. Thomas had to trust in the words of Jesus more than
his eyes. Were Thomas’ eyes controlling his belief or was his belief
controlling his eyes? How does it work? How could a dead person be
alive, Thomas mused? How could he believe it? Many people have said
that they would believe it when they see it. Isn’t seeing believing?
Not in this particular instance. Thomas was confronted with a
stumbling block too-his eyes! Human vision is different from
supernatural vision. Faith is supernatural vision. Thomas made the
leap from reason to faith. He didn’t understand it. Who could? He
uttered his famous cry: “My Lord and My God!” We need to do the same
Confucius never said he was a part of divinity. He was born before Christ probably around 200 B.C. The following two paragraphs are taken from Relics listed in the sources.
Confucius laid no claim to being more than a man. His system of ethics gradually assumed the aspects of a religious cult. His analects are wise sayings similar to the Proverbs in the bible. In accordance with tradition there are no statues of the sage, only tablets inscribed with his name. The followers of his teaching number more than 300 million with many paying homage at his tomb.
The Indian mystic and prophet, Buddha, died in 483 B.C.
He espoused noble causes in order to help liberate people from
suffering by mental and moral self purification. Millions of pagodas in Asia containing some of his writings. Jesus embraced
suffering. He was able to discern that suffering is sacrificial and
infinitely meritoriously when united to the holy will of the Creator
and when pain is unavoidable. He did not eliminate pain and was
unafraid to challenge it. Jesus did not master hardships. He
sanctified them with love and consecration. He is the Liberator
because he cleanses, frees and liberates the soul, mind and heart
through the innate seeds of faith, hope and charity that God infuses
into our total being. Although Jesus never left any writings of his own, he imparted his Spirit to others as he promised to make known the kingdom of God on earth and in heaven. We are all made in the image and likeness of
God despite our sinful inheritance.
We are incarnational trinities: possessing creativity with the Father, spirit with the Holy Ghost and communication with the Eternal Word. Exactly as the Father communicates with the one Word, we too, with our humanity in union with Jesus Christ, are able to express our minds, hearts and memories to our Father, Spirit and Son, the total Holy Trinity, by reason of the Trinity indwelling within us. Obviously we can't always be conscious of this inscrutable mystery. But through our baptism we are not only born again, we are reborn anew! The curse has been removed by
the coming of the radiant Redemptor and Savior. The Messiah was
promised and God always keeps his promises.
When you think
you know what St John of the Cross said you realize it's more than
you imagined. John's words will escape you often because he is so
pure and deep. His words at times are puzzling and require a wise
guide to help you grasp his remarkable message. Again, compare the
below quote with the above quotation and reflect: "When you most
seek, and most anxiously desire, you will never find if you seek for
yourself-not even in the most profound contemplation but only in
deep humility and submission of heart." Again: "seek in reading
and you will find in meditation. Knock in prayer and it shall be
opened in contemplation." Don't even think of trying to fully
fathoming John. Rather, enjoy, celebrate and delight in his
friendship, which the church extends through his writings and
legacy. The entire and authentic collected works of St John of the
Cross can be obtained by writing to the Institute of Carmelite
Studies at 2131 Lincoln Rd. N.E., Washington, DC
John's words are for all creatures and especially
members of the church. They do not have to live in monasteries or
secluded settings or be contemplatives. For John, God wants to
transform each and everyone regardless of their lifestyle. All have
to give the payback. We are "bandits". Intentionally or
unintentionally we keep or are stingy with God who wants our loving
thoughts, feelings, aspirations and desperations. John understood
that to give up these for God results in a giving back to him. John
always reminds us that love is only repaid by love alone. We are
spiritual thieves. We have imprisoned the Word made Flesh in God's
many sanctuaries. God is more entrapped by his love for us than by
our "stealing" him away from the celestial court. The kingdom of the
heavenly court dwells in our midst, mystically and physically. Faith
and love grasp this truth.
There is a mystic in each of us.
It's God dwelling in us in a marvelous and invisible manner. God is
absolute mystery. God told Moses "I am who I am". One can not say
more about God's presence than what God told Moses. The mystical
apostle, St John, described God's nature: God is love. The mystical
doctor's message is where there is no love, put love and you will
find love. He was absolutely convinced that nothing is obtained from
God except through love.
John's maxims and counsels which can be obtain from the many Carmelites' convents and monasteries throughout the world remind us of this Trinitarian truth. The Father spoke one Word which was his Son and this Word he always speaks in external silence, and in silence must it be heard by the soul. Thus we see that genuine prayer without stillness and sincerity of spirit is not authentic prayer.
John was not so caught up in
contemplation and union with God that he failed to mention the
Virgin of Carmel. Listen to the fondness and intimacy of the concise
yet tremendously sensitive lines in one of his touching Christmas
poems: "If you meet the Virgin coming down the road, ask her into
your home because she bears the word of God." John's life and
writings exhort us to love Jesus and Mary as lover, husband, wife,
brother and sister. He is telling us to be cordially inviting,
respecting and assisting others when needed or necessary.
Although John has not written extensively about the Mother
of God, there is according to the masters of the spiritual life,
hardly anything that John has not said about Mary from a spiritual
perspective. There are only sparse references about St Mary
including 12 explicit and only 4 from John's major writings.
However, from these profound, terse inclusions, an entire Mariology
could be drawn. This information may be gained by going to the
section marked "tapes" (from the link below) that Father Emmanuel
Sullivan of The Mother of God, OCD, recorded. He did extensive
research for the 400th anniversary on St John of the Cross and one
will be amazed to know that hardly anyone in the entire history of
the catholic church could said anything more fitting and excellently
about the Mother of God in fewer words than what St John of the
Cross expressed. In additions, there are many other excellent tapes
by wise and holy Carmelites about St John of the Cross.
arrives in a loving relationship with the heavenly court through
self-denial, renunciation, fasting, penance, mortifications,
asceticism, discipline and, above all, daily prayer. Surrender to
God in all things if you want union. One needs to plunge in and
trust. John's writings are like an ocean. He is deep. Deeper than
the universe! Anyone who really wants to study, view and understand
the stars needs a telescope. Those who want to understand God
generally need a prayerful, wise guide to lead you where God reigns
and dwells. Seek John and cry to him for any help. He is your friend
and brother. He wants to share God's gifts with you.
craving for God is a gift but it can be anyone's gift. Don't be
afraid to pray and seek God everywhere and non-stop. Naturally, you
have to use common sense. Petition God to touch you with divine,
common sense. God wants to supernaturalize your rational thinking
with heavenly thinking (prayer). Remember that heaven is where the
heart is. Ponder John’s blissful cry and reflect on this holistic,
Hispanic healer. " Oh! thou most beautiful soul who longs to know
where thy Beloved dwells. You, yourself, are that very tabernacle
where He loves to take His delight". Jesus said it first: The
kingdom of God is within you! We should not only stay near Jesus in
the tabernacle but stay near all God’s creatures when they need us.
God is there! Lovers, as John, always stay near and care for all
with solicitude, sensitivity and affection whenever
Christocentric men and women pray daily to live out the
gospel message. They are people of prayer, adoration and action.
Each, according to their gifts, attempt to share the fruits and
favors of prayer. That is their calling and that is their gift to
the church and to the world and all of its members.
kindly toward others is the mystical life. The true mystic is not
caught up in asceticism. Being generous, patient and compassionate
to all despite interruptions in one’s life requires heroic holiness.
Penance and mortification are measures to check human nature that
has been irreparably damaged. Only constant vigilance can contain
the ever-present weakness of the flesh, which has its own laws and
tendencies. One attempts to receive charity through penance and
never to attempt to gain something through one’s effort. Charity is
not only a gift but God’s greatest gift that is bestowed and not
Sharing charity, acting charitable and sometimes
keeping quiet when one feels like criticizing, complaining and
getting angry can only be achieved by supernatural graces. Charity
is one. There is really only one charity and it embraces God and all
of God’s creatures. It is impossible to have only one half of
charity. To profess to love God and not neighbor is a hoax. To say
one loves neighbor and not God is a myth.
All people are
mystics to some degree. Lovers of humanity reveal Christ. Lovers of
Christ reveal their concern for all humanity. The mystic aims to
find God not only in his soul but everywhere and especially in being
nice and kind to people.
It has been said, “charity is but
the most manifest and illustrious aspect of God. Of all of God’s
attributes, charity is the sovereign and original one because all
the other attributes originate from charity. What is God’s power but
dynamic, active charity? What is God’s wisdom but a
teaching-charity? What is God’s mercy but a forgiving charity? What
is God’s justice but a ruling charity?”
As music can
sometimes be described as the voices of angels, St John’s writings
are music to the ear. They will make you soar with inspiration to
share, desire and love. His words are eloquent, subtle and sonorous.
His poetry will tenderly touch and move you. His profound words are
found in the best musicals ever. The lyrics in the famous Broadway
shows such as Les Miserable and The Phantom of the Opera and The Man
from LaMancha are echoes of John’s words. Wherever you hear words of
love, the meaning and shades of expressed love in song or
expressions, you will find similarities in St John’s words. He is
unquestionably the mystical doctor and the church and the "Doctor of Mystical Theology" because he expressed
the inexpressible. He made them concrete as far as it is humanly
possible with his superb prose and poetry. John asserts that love is
a divine and delicate touch. It is also a wound that causes a
glorious death in such a way that one dies while remaining alive. It
strikes without a sound and one does not know how or why it is
From the mass on his feast:
God our Father,
you have shown us the mystery of the cross in the life of Saint
John. May this sacrifice make us strong, keep us faithful to Christ
and help us to work in the Church for the salvation of all
humankind. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.
lived a life of the most personal, intimate life of unity of God
through his imitation of Jesus Christ. As previously mentioned, St
John of the Cross' life was, in part, a composite of all of the
Our union with John's union with God could include religions from the below for perfect love embraces all believers and lovers who embrace the adorable Creator who created all.
The following link and
the many links within this main one, will allow one to view many
aspects of these religions and beliefs and more. Included are
Catholicism and Carmelite Spirituality, specifically, Institute for
Carmelite Studies, in detail. You will find these by going to the
section named explore beliefnet and then under the section:
spiritual tools, and lastly click on: best links. This will take you
to the section: Catholicism.
Some of St John of the Cross' excerpts are listed below. For more, click this link.
If you do not learn to deny yourself, you can make no progress
In detachment, the spirit finds quiet and
repose for coveting nothing. Nothing wearies it by elation, and
nothing oppresses it by dejection, because it stands in the center
of its own humility.
The Lord measures our perfection neither
by the multitude nor the magnitude of our deeds, but by the manner
in which we perform them.
I wish I could persuade spiritual
persons that the way of perfection does not consist in many devices,
nor in much cogitation, but in denying themselves completely and
yielding themselves to suffer everything for the love of Christ. And
if there is failure in this exercise, all other methods of walking
in the spiritual way are merely a beating about the bush, and
profitless trifling, although a person should have very high
contemplation and communication with God.
Live in the world
as if only God and your soul were in it; then your heart will never
be made captive by any earthly thing.
O you souls who wish to
go on with so much safety and consolation, if you knew how pleasing
to God is suffering, and how much it helps in acquiring other good
things, you would never seek consolation in anything; but you would
rather look upon it as a great happiness to bear the Cross of the
Though holy doctors have uncovered many mysteries and
wonders, and devout souls have understood them in this earthly
condition of ours, yet the greater part still remains to be unfolded
by them, and even to be understood by them.
We must then dig
deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets
containing treasures: however deep we dig, we will never find their
end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh
riches are discovered on all sides.
For this reason the
apostle Paul said of Christ, "In him are hidden all the treasures of
the wisdom and knowledge of God." The soul cannot enter into these
treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters
the thicket of suffering, enduring interior and exterior labors, and
unless it first receives from God very many blessings in the
intellect and in the senses, and has undergone long spiritual
The gate that gives entry into these riches of his
wisdom is the cross; because it is a narrow gate, while many seek
the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire
to pass through it.
In giving us His Son, His only Word, He
spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word -- and He has no
more to say ... because what he spoke before to the prophets in
parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His
The following information is paraphrased and taken from Fr
Christoper Rengers who is listed in the sources and without which no
body of knowledge about the doctors would be complete and justified.
Rengers wisely calls St John the Doctor of Mystical Theology. John,
the mystic, although given extra-ordinary insights, knowlegede and
wisdom by God was also, keenly logical, practical and highly
intelligent. This profound doctor understood like no others that
sometimes the individual that tries to assist in the process of
contemplation can only interfere sometimes. Great discernment is
needed to be joined in perfect contemplative with God, and, at the
same time, enjoy the free use of one's intellect, memory and
imagination which can sometimes be an obstacle to
Christopher, the Capuchin, has a section that refers to
John as the Doctor of Nothingness. Father hastens to indicate that
as John, if one is to received the highest and loftiness enjoyment
of God in perfect, prayful union, one must be stripped of everything
earthly and every possible attachment, no matter how
To scale a mountain that is nearly insurmountable, a
wise guide is needed and necessary. To climb the highest spiritual
heights, one must master the beatitudes, the commandments and be
lead by the Spirit of God nonstop. St John is the surest, safest and
wisest spiritual guide in the life of prayer and contemplation. He
warns "very strongly against confessors and directors of souls who
are ignorant and cannot distinguish between what is caused by
sickness, the devil or the hand of God".
discernment of spirits could only be obtained through his close
union with God. John performed an exorcisism on one who was
purported to have the stigmata of the Lord and deemed most holy.
However, John would be the first to tell you that there were some
opinions and choices of his that proved to be wrong. Perhaps that is
why, he preferred to be silent when not necessary to speak. In
addition to his strong loving devotion and prayerful life lived in
close union with God's mother, Father adds that John had a strong
devotion to Mary's Spouse, St Joseph, the Silent One.
other doctor of the Church had the title 'of the Cross' following
his name. Perhaps his love for Christ Crucified urged him to claim
that name and "in line with this thinking," Father points out, that
"the value of suffering and mortification" be clearly known. John
always said: "Do not seek Christ without the cross". In the
Introduction of this website I inserted John's famous lines that all
the doctors would most certainly endorse wholeheartedly: "Suffering
for God is better than working miracles." Father Christopher even
points out that John urged others to mortify even good desires even
to the point that certain souls once that they have reached a
certain degree of union with God may be harmed by external
Christopher Rengers, OFM Cap. also points out that as
a poet, St John of the Cross ranks with the greatest. Many literary
critics consider him Spain's greatest lyric poet. "He was a
supremely great artist, endowed with a very full measure of natural
skill." "(E. Allison Peers, The Tablet, July 4, 1942,
Father reminds us that all of John's works are now
offered in English in one volume, translated and commented on by Fathers
Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (published by
Institute of Carmelite Studies, Washington DC) see below
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the below link
will give you the most authentic translations of any and all
Discalced Carmelite Saints. Current Carmelite authors will also
provide and recommend excellent literature on Carmelite
spirituality. This link will also provide the most comprehensive and
best links for all Carmelite members both men and women around the
world. It will also include other interesting and related
John of the Cross (The Ascent to Joy) by Marc Foley, O.C.D.(ed) "This is a very informative introduction to the message of St John of the Cross, first Carmelite Doctor of the Church. The passages from St John's writings are chosen with much insight." Rev Dr John Sullivan, OCD Institute of Carmelite Studies, Washington, DC. (see)www.newcitypress.com for more information and sample pages.)
Medieval Women Mystics: Gertrude the Great, Angela of Foligno, Birgitta of Sweden, Julian of Norwich-Selected spiritual writings, introduction and edited by Elizabeth Ruth Obbard from www.newcitypress.com
A fascinating link of St John of the Cross taken from the web site below from the ministry of Dr Marcellino D'Ambrosio plus much more.
Saint John of the Cross
The below web site contains comprehensive resources on our church, faith, the bible, saints, writings, apologetics, evangelization, family issues, links, and many pertinent services. This superior and highly organized web site (see Table of Content) is a most fascinating site with beautiful prayers, devotions, and really too much to enumerate. A truly universal catholic site.
For additional Carmelite links go to Sts Teresa and Therese at the below
A Spiritual Director For All Time For All
Summary of the "Collected Works of St John of the Cross"