There you will show meThe Spiritual Canticle, Stanzas 38–39
what my soul has been seeking,
and then you will give me,
you, my life, will give me there
what you gave me on that other day:
the breathing of the air,
the song of the sweet nightingale,
the grove and its living beauty
in the serene night,
with a flame that is consuming and painless.
The soul’s aim is a love equal to God’s. She always desired this equality, naturally and supernaturally, for lovers cannot be satisfied without feeling that they love as much as they are loved.
Since the soul sees through her transformation in God in this life that she cannot, even though her love is immense, equal the perfection of God’s love for her, she desires the clear transformation of glory in which she will reach this equality.
Even though there is a true union of will in this high state she now enjoys, she cannot attain the excellence and power of love that she will possess in the strong union of glory.
Just as the soul, according to St. Paul, will know then as she is known by God [1 Cor. 13:12], so she will also love God as she is loved by him. As her intellect will be the intellect of God, her will then will be God’s will, and thus her love will be God’s love.
“The soul’s aim is a love equal to God’s.” #StJohnOfTheCrossTweet
The soul’s will is not destroyed there, but is so firmly united with the strength of God’s will, with which he loves her, that her love for him is as strong and perfect as his love for her; for the two wills are so united that there is only one will and love, which is God’s.
Thus the soul loves God with the will and strength of God himself, united with the very strength of love with which God loves her. This strength lies in the Holy Spirit in whom the soul is there transformed, for by this transformation of glory he supplies what is lacking in her, since he is given to the soul for the sake of the strength of this love.
Even in the perfect transformation of this state of spiritual marriage, which the soul reaches in this life, she superabounds with grace and, as above, loves in some way through the Holy Spirit who is given to her [Rom. 5:5] in this transformation of love.
Saint John of the Cross
The Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 38, no.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.
Featured image: Detail from an icon representing the death of St John of the Cross. The icon is partially covered and protected by a silver riza that forms the halo, the cross held by the Saint when he died, the monstrance holding a large consecrated Host, and the background of the icon. Three Carmelite friars are seen holding large, long candles and one friar holds the Blessed Sacrament. The head of the Saint on his deathbed is seen in the foreground on the left, with his body extending to the right of the icon. If you know the location of this icon, please reply below! Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites