Why, since you woundedThe Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 9
this heart, don’t you heal it?
And why, since you stole it from me,
do you leave it so,
and fail to carry off what you have stolen?
The soul in this condition of love, then, is like a sick person who is extremely tired and, having lost the taste and appetite for all food, finds it nauseating and everything a disturbance and annoyance. In all that sick people think or see they have only one desire, the desire for health, and everything that does not lead to this is a bother and burden to them.
Since the soul has reached this sickness of love of God, she has three traits:
- In all things that are offered to her or with which she deals, she has ever before her that longing for her health, which is her Beloved, and even though she cannot help being occupied with things, she always has her heart fixed on him.
- The second trait, arising from this first, is the loss of taste for all things.
- The third, then, which follows from these, is that all these things bother her and all dealings with others are burdensome and annoying.
The reason for these traits, deduced from what has been said, is that, since the palate of the soul’s will has tasted this food of love of God, her will is inclined immediately to seek and enjoy her Beloved in everything that happens and in all her occupations, without looking for any satisfaction or concern of her own.
Mary Magdalene acted similarly when with ardent love she was searching for him in the garden. Thinking that he was the gardener, without any further reasoning or consideration she pleaded with him: If you have taken him from me, tell me, and I will take him away [Jn. 20:15].
Having a similar yearning to find him in all things, and not immediately finding him as she desires but rather quite the contrary not only does the soul fail to find satisfaction in these things, but they also become a torment to her, and sometimes a very great one. Such souls suffer much in dealing with people and with business matters, for these contacts hinder rather than help them to their goal.
Saint John of the Cross
The Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 10, introduction
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: Christ’s Appearance to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection is an oil on canvas painting executed in 1835 by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov (Russian, 1806–1858). It is part of the Russian Museum’s collection of 18th–19th c. paintings. Image credit: Russian Museum via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)
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