Quote of the day, 9 May: St. John of the Cross

You considered
that one hair fluttering at my neck;
you gazed at it upon my neck
and it captivated you;
and one of my eyes wounded you.

Spiritual Canticle (B), Stanza 31

For God, to gaze at is to love. If in his infinite mercy he had not gazed at us and loved us first — as St. John declares [1 Jn. 4:10, 19] — and descended, the hair of our lowly love would not have taken him prisoner, for this love was not so lofty in its flight as to be able to capture this divine bird of heights.

But because he came down to gaze at us and arouse the flight of our love by strengthening and giving it the courage for this [Dt. 32:11], he himself as a result was captivated by the flight of the hair, that is, he was satisfied and pleased. Such is the meaning of the verses: “You gazed at it upon my neck and it captivated you.” It is indeed credible that a bird of lowly flight can capture the royal eagle of the heights if this eagle descends with the desire of being captured.

Saint John of the Cross

Spiritual Canticle (B) St. 31, no. 8

John of the Cross, St. 1991, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

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