Quote of the day, 16 April: St. John of the Cross

Upon a darksome night,
Kindling with love in flame of yearning keen
– O moment of delight! –
I went, by all unseen,
New-hush’d to rest the house where I had been.

Safe sped I through that night,
By the secret stair, disguised and unseen,
– O moment of delight! –
Wrapt in that night serene,
New-hush’d to rest the house where I had been.

O happy night and blest!
Secretly speeding, screen’d from mortal gaze,
Unseeing, on I prest,
Lit by no earthly rays,
Nay, only by heart’s inmost fire ablaze.

‘Twas that light guided me,
More surely than the noonday’s brightest glare,
To the place where none would be
Save one that waited there –
Well knew I whom or ere I forth did fare.

O night that led’st me thus!
O night more winsome than the rising sun!
O night that madest us,
Lover and lov’d, as one,
Lover transform’d in lov’d, love’s journey done!

Upon my flowering breast,
His only, as no man but he might prove,
There, slumbering, did he rest,
‘Neath my caressing love,
Fann’d by the cedars swaying high above.

When from the turret’s height,
Scattering his locks, the breezes play’d around,
With touch serene and light
He dealt me love’s sweet wound,
And with the joyful pain thereof I swoon’d.

Forgetful, rapt, I lay,
My face reclining on my lov’d one fair.
All things for me that day
Ceas’d, as I slumber’d there,
Amid the lilies drowning all my care.

Saint John of the Cross

Poetry, 1
Songs of the soul that rejoices at having reached the high estate of perfection, which is union with God, by the road of spiritual negation

John of the Cross, St; de Santa Teresa, S; Peers, E 1934–1935, The complete works of Saint John of the Cross, doctor of the Church, translated from the Spanish by Peers, E, Burns Oates & Washbourne, London.

3 thoughts on “Quote of the day, 16 April: St. John of the Cross

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  1. In the French Liturgy of the Hours, every year on Holy Saturday at Morning Prayer the assigned hymn is “Qui Pourrait Dormir” (Who Could Sleep?) by Father Didier Rimaud, S.J. Over several stanzas he tells the story of Good Friday; every stanza ends with that same, rhetorical question. I mean, really… after everything that happened to Jesus on Good Friday, who could sleep? You’re not alone in your insomnia seems to be Father Didier’s whole point.

    1. Thank you, that’s really helpful! That’s how I feel. From 1.15pm to 3pm I was with Jesus in His ordeals,and 3pm was our Solemn Liturgy,which I saw online. By evening I was punch drunk. The last thing I feel like doing is sleeping. When Jesus is in the Hell of the Dead, and His Sacred Body in a tomb.

  2. Your emails generally arrive around 2 or 3am my time, when I am often sleepless, as tonight. I really look forward to them to begin my day. This poem is perfect for a sleepless night, beginning Holy Saturday, after the grief of Good Friday. Many thanks!

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