John’s entire work is tensed towards eternity, towards the ‘other, better Indies’. As the friars at his bedside began the prayers for the dying, John checked them. “That is not necessary: read me something from the Song of Songs.” He was interpreting his death as a mystery of love.
He had written of death like this:
“The rivers of love which have long been flowing in the soul swell, bank up, like seas of love, as they press to pour into the ocean.”
Eternity meant to him love set free. That is where night is leading.
Iain Matthew, O.C.D.
The Impact of God, Chap. 10
At midnight on the night of 13-14 December 1591, Saint John of the Cross died in the discalced friar’s convent at Úbeda and entered fully into the mystery of love.
Matthew, I 1995, The Impact of God: Soundings from St. John of the Cross, Hodder & Stoughton, London.