Quote of the day, 19 March: St. John of the Cross

Jesus be in your soul.

The messenger, arriving at a time when I was unable to answer, continued his journey, and now on his return is here awaiting my reply. May God ever give you, my daughter, his holy grace so that in all things you may employ yourself entirely in his holy love and service, as is your obligation, since this is why he created and redeemed you.

A great deal could be said about the three points you raised, more than my lack of time and paper now permits. But I will speak to you of another three that you will find a help.

In regard to sins, which God so abhors that they obliged him to die: You should, in order to weep truly over them and avoid falling into them, have as little to do with people as possible, flee from them and never speak more than is necessary in each case. For conversing with people more than entirely necessary was never good for anyone, however holy. And together with this you should keep the law of God with great punctuality and love.

With regard to the Lord’s passion: You should endeavor to treat your body with a discreet rigor, strive after self-contempt and mortification, and renounce the desire to do your own will or seek your own satisfaction, since that was the cause of his passion and death. And in all you do let it be with your mother’s counsel.

In regard to the third point, which is glory: To have the right idea of glory and to love it, you should consider all the riches of the world and its delights as mud and vanity and weariness, as they truly are, and do not esteem anything, however signal and precious, except being in God’s grace. All that is best here below is ugly and bitter when compared to those eternal goods for which we were created. And however brief the ugliness and bitterness, it will last forever in the soul that esteems it.

I have not forgotten your business matter, but nothing more can be done now, although I have a great desire to do so. Entrust this earnestly to God and take our Lady and St. Joseph as your advocates in it.

Give my best regards to your mother and let this letter be for her too. Will you both pray for me and ask your friends also to do so out of charity.

May God grant you his Spirit.

From Segovia, February.
Fray John of the Cross

Saint John of the Cross

Letter 12
To a young lady from Narros del Castillo (Avila), aspirant to the discalced Carmelites
Written from Segovia, February 1589 (?)

Nota bene: Translator and editor Father Kieran Kavanaugh adds: “This young lady, whom John had known when confessor at the monastery of the Incarnation in Avila, entered the community in Arenas, which later moved to Guadalajara. She took the name Ana de la Cruz.”

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.

Featured image: Photographer Father Lawrence Lew, OP notes: “This statue of St Joseph is in the shrine of St John Vianney in the village of Ars, France.” Thanks to Father for making this photo available on his Flickr photostream. (Some rights reserved)

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