We have the very wisdom and the very beauty and the very fortitude of God in shadow, because the soul here cannot comprehend God perfectly. Since the shadow is so formed by God’s size and properties that it is God himself in shadow, the soul knows well the excellence of God.
What, then, will be the shadows of the grandeurs of his virtues and attributes that the Holy Spirit casts on the soul? For he is so close to it that his shadows not only touch but unite it with these grandeurs in their shadows and splendors, so that it understands and enjoys God according to his property and measure in each of the shadows.
For it understands and enjoys the divine power in the shadow of omnipotence, and it understands and enjoys the divine wisdom in the shadow of divine wisdom, and it understands and enjoys the infinite goodness in the shadow of infinite goodness that surrounds it, and so on. Finally, it enjoys God’s glory in the shadow of his glory.
Who can express how elevated this happy soul feels here, how exalted, how much admired in holy beauty?
Saint John of the Cross
The Living Flame of Love, Stanza 3
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.
Leave a Reply