BAEZ - God is light and darkness IGsize
“Hence when the divine light of contemplation strikes a soul not yet entirely illumined, it causes spiritual darkness, for it not only surpasses the act of natural understanding but it also deprives the soul of this act and darkens it.” (St. John of the Cross, The Dark Night II:5)
“They became frightened when they entered the cloud” (Luke 9:34)

Dark Night of the Soul | Ola Gjeilo

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From Central Washington University YouTube channel comes this stellar performance of Dark Night of the Soul by the noted Norwegian-American composer Ola Gjeilo. Their video “liner notes” offer the following information:

“Dark Night of the Soul” (Ola Gjeilo) is sung by The Central Washington University Chamber Choir (Gary Weidenaar, director) joined by Ola Gjeilo on the piano and the Kairos String Quartet (comprised of CWU string faculty).

ABOUT THE WORK: “Dark Night of the Soul was written in 2010, and premiered that year by the Phoenix Chorale. The text, three stanzas from St. John of the Cross’ magical poem Dark Night of the Soul, was suggested to me by Joel Rinsema, Executive Director of the Phoenix Chorale, and I fell in love with its passionate spirituality right away. One of the things I wanted to do in this piece was to make the choir and piano fairly equal, as if in a dialogue; often the piano is accompanying the choir, but sometimes the choir is accompanying the piano (or violin) as well, with the choir kind of taking the role of a soft, but rich “string orchestra” texture. I just love the sound of voices humming chords, it creates a sound that can be so evocative and warm, especially when doubled by a string quartet. To me, that sound combination has a similar effect to a great synth pad, only it perhaps feels more organic and alive.” – Ola Gjeilo


ABOUT THE TEXT:

THE DARK NIGHT

Songs of the soul that rejoices in having reached the high state of perfection, which is union with God, by the path of spiritual negation.

1. One dark night,
fired with love’s urgent longings
– ah, the sheer grace! –
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.

2. In darkness, and secure,
by the secret ladder, disguised,
– ah, the sheer grace! –
in darkness and concealment,
my house being now all stilled.

3. On that glad night
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything
with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.

– St. John of the Cross (1542-1592)

14 December: St. John of the Cross

December 14
SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS
Priest, Doctor of the Church, and our Father

Solemnity

When December 14 falls on a Sunday, the solemnity is transferred to the following day.

John was born at Fontiveros in Spain about 1542. He entered the Carmelites and with the permission of his superiors began to live a stricter life. Afterwards, he was persuaded by Saint Teresa to begin, together with some others, the Discalced reform within the Order; this cost him much hard work and many trials. He died in Ubeda in 1591, outstanding in holiness and wisdom, to which his many spiritual writings give eloquent witness.

Evening Prayer I

HYMN

Soldier of the King eternal,
Valiant warrior, hail to thee!
Column raised to heights supernal
In unshaken majesty.
We revere thy glorious merits
And the tide of homage wells
From the fountain of our spirits,
Heav’nward rising as it swells.

Thou hast felt the strong protection
Of the Virgin Mother’s power,
Saving thee with sweet election
In the dread and dangerous hour.
Since thy youth she never swerveth
In her watchful care of thee,
And forever she preserveth
Him who vowed her slave to be.

Chosen offspring of our Mother,
In her labors thou didst share,
Aiding her, as son and brother,
Carmel’s beauty to repair;
Ruined shrine and temple raising
From the dust of slow decay,
Mary’s honor meetly praising,
In the dawn of fairer day.

Lo, the Cross thy weapon glorious,
As on Calvary’s height of yore,
When our Jesus reigned victorious,
Fallen nature to restore;
So thy burning love retrieveth
Glory of an ancient race,
And by suffering achieveth
Marvels of renewing grace.

Praise unto thy God be given
For the grace, O John, conferred,
When with chalice raised to Heaven,
Thine entreating prayer was heard:
In that first rapt celebration
Of the sacrifice divine,
Pledge of thine assured salvation
He hath deigned in love to sign.

87.87.D.
Regis aeterni generose miles

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 He opened his mouth in prayer, and the Lord filled him with the spirit of understanding.

Psalm 113

Praise, O servants of the Lord, *
praise the name of the Lord!
May the name of the Lord be blessed *
both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to its setting *
praised be the name of the Lord!

High above all nations is the Lord, *
above the heavens his glory.
Who is like the Lord, our God, *
who has risen on high to his throne
yet stoops from the heights to look down, *
to look down upon heaven and earth?

From the dust he lifts up the lowly, *
from his misery he raises the poor
to set him in the company of princes, *
yes, with the princes of his people.
To the childless wife he gives a home *
and gladdens her heart with children.

Ant. He opened his mouth in prayer, and the Lord filled him with the spirit of understanding.

Ant. 2 The Lord gave him treasures out of the darkness, and riches that had been hidden away.

Psalm 146

My soul, give praise to the Lord; +
I will praise the Lord all my days, *
make music to my God while I live.

Put no trust in princes *
in mortal men in whom there is no help.
Take their breath, they return to clay *
and their plans that day come to nothing.

He is happy who is helped by Jacob’s God, *
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who alone made heaven and earth, *
the seas and all they contain.

It is he who keeps faith forever, *
who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry, *
the Lord, who sets prisoners free,

the Lord who gives sight to the blind, *
who raises up those who are bowed down,
the Lord, who protects the stranger *
and upholds the widow and orphan.

It is the Lord who loves the just *
but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign forever, *
Zion’s God, from age to age.

Ant. The Lord gave him treasures out of the darkness, and riches that had been hidden away.

Ant. 3 No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived all that God has prepared for those who love him.

Canticle: Rev 4:11; 5:9, 10, 12

O Lord our God, you are worthy *
to receive glory and honor and power.

For you have created all things; *
by your will they came to be and were made.

Worthy are you, O Lord, *
to receive the scroll and break open its seals.

For you were slain; *
with your blood you purchased for God
men of every race and tongue, *
of every people and nation.

You made of them a kingdom +
and priests to serve our God, *
and they shall reign on the earth.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, *
to receive power and riches,
wisdom and strength, *
honor and glory and praise.

Ant. No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived all that God has prepared for those who love him.

READING

Ephesians 3:14-19

I, Paul, kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name; and I pray that he will bestow on you gifts in keeping with the riches of his glory. May he strengthen you inwardly through the working of his Spirit. May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of your life. Thus you will be able to grasp fully, with all the holy ones, the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love, and experience this love which surpasses all knowledge, so that you may attain to the fullness of God himself.

RESPONSORY

The God who brought light out of darkness has shone in our hearts.
The God who brought light out of darkness has shone in our hearts.

To give the light of knowledge of God’s glory that appears in the face of Christ.
He has shone in our hearts.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
The God who brought light out of darkness has shone in our hearts.

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant. I sought wisdom in my prayer; I found it abundantly within myself, and advanced greatly in it.

INTERCESSIONS

Christ our Redeemer inspired our Father Saint John of the Cross to follow him, and raised him to the heights of contemplation. Let us praise our Lord, and say:

R/.  Glory to you forever!

Christ our God, you taught your servant John the science of the Cross;
kindle the fire of your love in those to whom you have entrusted the teaching and government of your Church.

Christ, unfailing light, you reveal yourself in the night of faith to the poor in spirit;
let your face shine on all those who seek you in poverty amid the darkness of this world.

Christ, our only teacher, you disclose your highest secrets to those who love and seek you;
grant the consummation of your love to those you have called to serve you in Carmel.

Christ, triumphant in heaven in the midst of all your saints,
grant everlasting rest and peace in your glory to all our departed brothers and sisters.

Our Father…

PRAYER

Lord,
you endowed our Father Saint John of the Cross
with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross.
By following his example
may we come to the eternal vision of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

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Invitatory

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ Jesus, sole Word of the Father.

Invitatory psalm, as in the Ordinary

Office of Readings

HYMN

O John, rejoice this hallowed day
The triumph of the Cross to hail,
Whereon with Christ ‘twas thine to stay,
Transfixed with pang of spear and nail!

Nor insults, scorn, nor cruel scourge,
Bondage, nor hunger can restrain
The love thy panting soul doth urge
To taste the bitter draught of pain.

Thine only joy, thy sole reward,
The boon for which thy spirit sighed,
To mirror here thy suffering Lord,
Like Him in anguish crucified.

While thou dost search the mystic night,
Through darkness gleams a radiant star,
And Carmel’s camp is all alight,
With flame that leads to heights afar.

Let them that dwell in bliss above
Praise Thee, O Christ, with joyful lay,
Let them that run to Thee in love
Pursue, like John, the thorn-strewn way.

L.M.
Diem Ioammes advehit

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 God chose us to be conformed to the image of his Son.

Psalm 16

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you. +
I say to the Lord: “You are my God. *
My happiness lies in you alone.”

He has put into my heart a marvelous love +
for the faithful ones who dwell in his land. *
Those who choose other gods increase their sorrows.
Never will I offer their offerings of blood. *
Never will I take their name upon my lips.

O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup; *
it is you yourself who are my prize.
The lot marked out for me is my delight: *
welcome indeed the heritage that falls to me!

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel, *
who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord ever in my sight: *
since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.

And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad; *
even my body shall rest in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead, *
nor let your beloved know decay.

You will show me the path of life, +
the fullness of joy in your presence, *
at your right hand happiness forever.

Ant. God chose us to be conformed to the image of his Son.

Ant. 2 Among you I claimed to know nothing save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Psalm 34: I

I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast. *
The humble shall hear and be glad.

Glorify the Lord with me. *
Together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord and he answered me; *
from all my terrors he set me free.

Look towards him and be radiant; *
let your faces not be abashed.
This poor man called; the Lord heard him *
and rescued him from all his distress.

The angel of the Lord is encamped *
around those who revere him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. *
He is happy who seeks refuge in him.

Revere the Lord, you his saints. *
They lack nothing, those who revere him.
Strong lions suffer want and go hungry *
but those who seek the Lord lack no blessing.

Ant. Among you I claimed to know nothing save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Ant. 3 For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.

Psalm 34: II

Come, children, and hear me *
that I may teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is he who longs for life  *
and many days to enjoy his prosperity?

Then keep your tongue from evil *
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn aside from evil and do good, *
seek and strive after peace.

The Lord turns his face against the wicked *
to destroy their remembrance from the earth.
The Lord turns his eyes to the just *
and his ears to their appeal.

They call and the Lord hears *
and rescues them in all their distress.
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; *
those whose spirit is crushed he will save.

Many are the trials of the just man *
but from them all the Lord will rescue him.
He will keep guard over all his bones, *
not one of his bones shall be broken.

Evil brings death to the wicked, *
those who hate the good are doomed.
The Lord ransoms the souls of his servants. *
Those who hide in him shall not be condemned.

Ant. For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain. In you is the source of life.
In your light we see light itself.

FIRST READING
From the letter of the apostle Paul to the Colossians
Colossians 1:11-29

God has transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son

By the might of his glory you will be endowed with the strength needed to stand fast, even to endure joyfully whatever may come, giving thanks to the Father for having made you worthy to share the lot of the saints in light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son. Through him we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins.

He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creatures. In him, everything in heaven and on earth was created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominations, principalities or powers; all were created through him and for him. He is before all else that is. In him everything continues in being. It is he who is head of the body, the church; he who is the beginning, the first-born of the dead, so that the primacy may be his in everything. It pleased God to make absolute fullness reside in him and, by means of him, to reconcile everything in his person, both on earth and in the heavens, making peace through the blood of his cross.

You yourselves were once alienated from him; you nourished hostility in your hearts because of your evil deeds. But now, Christ has achieved reconciliation for you in his mortal body by dying, so as to present you to God holy, free of reproach and blameless. But you must hold fast to faith, be firmly grounded and steadfast in it, unshaken in the hope promised you by the gospel you have heard. It is the gospel which has been announced to every creature under heaven, and I, Paul, am its servant.

Even now I find my joy in the suffering I endure for you. In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his body, the church. I became a minister of this church through the commission God gave me to preach among you his word in its fullness, that mystery hidden from ages and generations past but now revealed to his holy ones. God has willed to make known to them the glory beyond price which this mystery brings to the Gentiles—the mystery of Christ in you, your hope of glory. This is the Christ we proclaim while we admonish all men and teach them in the full measure of wisdom, hoping to make every man complete in Christ. For this I work and struggle, impelled by that energy of his which is so powerful a force within me.

RESPONSORY

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;
—listen to him.

In many and varied ways God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us in his Son.
Listen to him.

The second reading and responsory may be taken from The Liturgy of the Hours or the following may be used:

ALTERNATIVE SECOND READING
From The Spiritual Canticle by Saint John of the Cross
(Red. B, st. 1,4 — ed. Kavanaugh-Rodriguez 1979, pp. 434-45)

Traces of the divine beauty in creation

Created things in themselves, as Saint Augustine declares, give testimony to God’s grandeur and excellence. For God created all things with remarkable ease and brevity, and in them he left some trace of who he is, not only in giving all things being from nothing, but even by endowing them with innumerable graces and qualities, making them beautiful in a wonderful order and unfailing dependence on one another. All of this he did through his own wisdom, the Word, his only begotten Son by whom he created them.

Saint Paul says: The Son of God is the splendor of his glory and the image of his substance. It should be known that only with this figure, his Son, did God look at all things, that is he communicated to them their natural being and many natural graces and gifts, and made them complete and perfect, as is said in Genesis: God looked at all things that he made, and they were very good. To look and behold that they were very good was to make them very good in the Word, his Son.

Not only by looking at them did he communicate natural being and graces, as we said, but also with this image of his Son alone, he clothed them in beauty by imparting to them supernatural being. This he did when he became man and elevated human nature in the beauty of God and consequently all creatures, since in human nature he was united with them all.

Accordingly, the Son of God proclaimed: If I be lifted up from the earth, I will elevate all things to me. And in this elevation of all things through the incarnation of his Son and through the glory of his resurrection according to the flesh, the Father did not merely beautify creatures partially, but rather we can say, clothed them wholly in beauty and dignity.

RESPONSORY

Prayer of a Soul Taken with Love

O God, you will not deprive me of what you have given me in Christ.
In him you have given me all things.

Mine are the heavens, mine is the earth,
mine are the peoples, the just and the sinners,
mine are the angels, and mine is the Mother of God
In him you have given me all things.

Those who desire to extend, in accordance with tradition, the celebration of the Vigil of Solemnities and Feasts should first celebrate the Office of Readings; after the two readings and before the Te Deum they should add the canticles and Gospel as indicated below.

A homily may follow the Gospel. The Te Deum is then sung, followed by the concluding prayer and the conclusion of the Hour as usual.

 VIGIL OFFICE

CANTICLES

Ant. Come, let us climb the mountain of the Lord, where God is pleased to dwell; there dwell his honor and glory alone.

Canticles from the Common of the Dedication of a Church

GOSPEL
Jn 12:35-36a, 44b-50

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Believe in the light and you will become sons of light

Jesus declared publicly:

“The light will be with you only a little longer now.
Walk while you have the light,
or the dark will overtake you;
he who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.
While you still have the light,
believe in the light
and you will become sons of light.”

“Whoever believes in me
believes not in me
but in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me,
sees the one who sent me.
and whoever sees me,
sees the one who sent me.
I, the light, have come into the world,
so that whoever believes in me
need not stay in the dark anymore.
If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully,
it is not I who shall condemn him,
since I have come not to condemn the world,
but to save the world:
he who rejects me and refuses my words
has his judge already:
the word itself that I have spoken
will be his judge on the last day.
For what I have spoken does not come from myself;
no, what I was to say, what I had to speak,
was commanded by the Father who sent me,
and I know that his commands mean eternal life.
And therefore what thee Father has told me
is what I speak.

HYMN, Te Deum.

PRAYER

Lord,
may the patronage
of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother,
and the prayers of all the saints of Carmel
help us to walk steadfastly in their footsteps,
and by our prayers and good works
ever further the cause of your Church.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

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Morning Prayer

HYMN

Bearing His Cross, the gentle Lord drew nigh,
Offering the crown by merit richly won.
O Love! to quaff Thy cup and with Thee die,
Low answers John.

To live despised, in suffering and alone,
The one insatiate yearning of his breast;
To die devoid of honor, and unknown,
His heart’s request.

Death yielded triumph of the Cross at last,
While dazzling globes of fire from Heav’n descend,
And o’er his deeds the light of glory cast
To cheer his end.

His dying couch, with light irradiate,
Dims with celestial beam earth’s fitful flame,
Perfumes exhale, breathing of heavenly state
And saintly fame.

Honor supreme be to the Father given,
To Word and Paraclete in praise unite,
Upon whose Triune flame the hosts of Heaven
Feed with delight.

10.10.10.4.
Dum crucem gestat Dominus, Ioanni

OR:

Let us together
Up the high mountain
Go where the weather
Keeps a June glow.
You in your beauty,
I in your beauty,
Earth in your beauty,
All give delight.

Up past the steepest
Cliffs of our striving,
Up from the deepest
Thickets of pain
Where darkness bound you,
Ravaged and slew you,
Till daybreak found you,
Risen again.

Haste then our going
Up the high mountain,
Pure water flowing
Down from the height,
Wind in the spruces,
Light on the aspens,
Fruit of sweet juices
All give delight.

Deep caverns holding
Secrets of heaven,
Summits unfolding
Myst’ries divine,
Nightingale singing,
Grove lit with beauty
Each new day bringing
Taste of new wine.

Sweet the ascending
Up the high mountain,
Sweeter the ending
Love spread abroad.
Everyone sharing
Grace of your image.
Everyone bearing
The beauty of God.

54.54.D
Sr. Miriam of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 Truly you are a hidden God, O God of Israel, our Savior.

Psalms and canticle from Sunday, Week I

Ant. 2 All things are yours, for you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

Ant. 3 Give thanks to the Lord in your hearts, sing him spiritual canticles.

READING

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. All of us, gazing on the Lord’s glory with unveiled faces, are being transformed from glory to glory into his very image by the Lord who is the Spirit.

RESPONSORY

Your light will shine in the darkness and the darkness will be as noon.
Your light will shine in the darkness and the darkness will be as noon.

The Lord will fill your soul with his splendor,
and the darkness will be as noon.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
Your light will shine in the darkness and the darkness will be as noon.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become children of light.

Or: The Lord has come to give light to those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet in the way of peace.

INTERCESSIONS

Jesus Christ, the head and bridegroom of his Church makes us joyful today on this feast of John of the Cross, his servant. Let us say to him:

R/.  You, Christ, are the King of Glory.

Only Word of the Father, uttered eternally in the eternal silence, and in the fullness of time received in the Virgin’s womb;
—may we hear your words today in the depths of our hearts, and put them into practice.

Wisdom of the Father, you showed your great love for us by emptying yourself in the Incarnation and on the Cross;
may we, who have been redeemed by your blood, always live in close communion with you.

Perfect Image of the Godhead, in whom all the mysteries of eternal love are revealed and poured out,
may we go forward in the strength of your Spirit, toward your inaccessible light.

Supreme Delight of the Father, in whom God looks mercifully on all men;
may we become perfect in compassion as our heavenly Father is perfect.

First-born of all creation, through you the Father in his goodness created and re-created all things,
may our thoughts be turned today from the visible world to your invisible beauty.

Our Father…

PRAYER

Lord,
you endowed our Father Saint John of the Cross
with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross.
By following his example
may we come to the eternal vision of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

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Daytime Prayer

Complementary psalmody

Midmorning

Ant. Those who wish to come after me must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.

READING

Ephesians 4:22-24

Acquire a fresh, spiritual way of thinking. You must put on that new man created in God’s image, whose justice and holiness are born of truth.

A pure heart create for me, O God.
Put a steadfast spirit within me.

Midday

Ant. Whoever would draw near to God must believe; the righteous live by faith.

READING

Romans 5:1-2

Now that we have been justified by faith, we are at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have gained access by faith to the grace in which we now stand, and we boast of our hope for the glory of God.

I live by faith in the Son of God.
Who loved me and gave himself for me.

Midafternoon

Ant. Your strength will lie in silence and hope.

READING

Romans 8:24-25

In hope we were saved. But hope is not hope if its object is seen; how is it possible for one to hope for what he sees? And hoping for what we cannot see means awaiting it with patient endurance.

The Lord is good to those who trust in him.
To the soul who seeks him.

PRAYER

Lord,
you endowed our Father Saint John of the Cross
with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross.
By following his example
may we come to the eternal vision of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

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Evening Prayer II

HYMN

Saint of the eagle eye,
Gazing enrapt on high
Mid dread abysses of Divinity;
Martyr by heart’s intent,
Virgin yet penitent,
Prophet and guide in realms of mystery.

Oft in thy life, ’tis told
Sweet converse thou didst hold
With the pure Virgin and her Son divine;
Thence came the wondrous light
Flooding with glory bright
Thy mystic page, for wisdom there did shine.

Clearly thou dost reveal
Secrets the clouds conceal
For thou hast seeped thy soul in rays above,
Pondering the mountain height,
Darkness of faith’s long night
And the reviving flame of mystic love.

When by God’s holy will
Thou dost His word instill,
Wondrous the marvels by the soul divined,
Like Him evoking light
From chaos deep as night,
Cheering with healthful beams the darkened mind.

O John, thy praise intone
Prostrate before the throne!
Thee hath the Father signed with light most true,
Gifts of the Spirit shine
And the meek Lamb divine
Openeth the book of life to thy pure view.

6.6.10.D.
O satis felix! Speculator alti

Ant. 1 God loved us so much that he brought us to life with Christ.

Psalm 15

Lord, who shall be admitted to your tent *
and dwell on your holy mountain?

He who walks without fault; *
he who acts with justice
and speaks the truth from his heart; *
he who does not slander with his tongue;

he who does no wrong to his brother, *
who casts no slur on his neighbor,
who holds the godless in disdain, *
but honors those who fear the Lord;

he who keeps his pledge, come what may; *
who takes no interest on a loan
and accepts no bribes against the innocent. *
Such a man will stand firm forever.

Ant. God loved us so much that he brought us to life with Christ.

Ant. 2 We know and believe in the love God has for us.

Psalm 112

Happy the man who fears the Lord, *
who takes delight in all his commands.
His sons will be powerful on earth; *
the children of the upright are blessed.

Riches and wealth are in his house; *
his justice stands firm forever.
He is a light in the darkness for the upright: *
he is generous, merciful and just.

The good man takes pity and lends, *
he conducts his affairs with honor.
The just man will never waver: *
he will be remembered forever.

He has no fear of evil news; *
with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.
With a steadfast heart he will not fear, *
he will see the downfall of his foes.

Open-handed, he gives to the poor; +
his justice stands firm forever. *
His head will be raised in glory.

The wicked man sees and is angry, +
grinds his teeth and fades away; *
the desire of the wicked leads to doom.

Ant. We know and believe in the love God has for us.

Ant. 3 The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given us.

Canticle: Ephesians 1:3-10

Praised be the God and Father *
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who has bestowed on us in Christ *
every spiritual blessing in the heavens.

God chose us in him *
before the world began,
to be holy *
and blameless in his sight.

He predestined us +
to be his adopted sons through Jesus Christ, *
such was his will and pleasure,
that all might praise the glorious favor *
he has bestowed on us in his beloved.

In him and through his blood we have been redeemed, *
and our sins forgiven,
so immeasurably generous *
is God’s favor to us.

God has given us the wisdom *
to understand fully the mystery,
the plan he was pleased *
to decree in Christ.

A plan to be carried out *
in Christ, in the fullness of time,
to bring all things into one in him, *
in the heavens and on the earth.

Ant. The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given us.

READING

1 Corinthians 13:8-10, 12-13, 14:1a

Love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be silent, knowledge will pass away. Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. Seek eagerly after love.

RESPONSORY

Love is as strong as death: It flashes forth like flames of fire.
Love is as strong as death: It flashes forth like flames of fire.

Who can separate us from the love of Christ?
It flashes forth like flames of fire.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
Love is as strong as death: It flashes forth like flames of fire.

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and that I may be in them.
INTERCESSIONS

God the Father has given us his Spirit through Jesus Christ his beloved Son, so that we may be partakers in the divine nature and witnesses to his love in the Church. Let us praise him and say:

R/.  Through the intercession of Saint John, hear us, O Lord.

Give your Church the living faith that will lead all men and women to seek you;
and bring them to the closest union with you.

Give the hope of heaven to all who are faithful in seeking you;
may they obtain all that they hope for.

Pour out your love upon us;
that where there is no love we may put love and so draw love out.

May all Carmelites be imitators of the Virgin Mary, Mother of our Order;
may we follow every inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Grant final purification to our departed brothers and sisters,
so that they may come without delay to sing canticles of love with all your saints.

Our Father…

PRAYER

Lord,
you endowed our Father Saint John of the Cross
with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross.
By following his example
may we come to the eternal vision of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Saint John of the Cross and three miraculous apparitions in his relics
Saint John of the Cross and three miraculous apparitions in his relics
Anonymous (Spanish, 17th c.)
Engraving, used as a cover for the ms. Informaciones sobre la vida y milagros de San Juan de la Cruz 
Manuscrito 12738, Biblioteca Nacional de España

Novena to St. John of the Cross – Day 6

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
I trust you, let me not be disappointed;
do not let my enemies triumph.
Those who hope in you shall not be disappointed,
but only those who wantonly break faith.

Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for you are God my savior.

In you I hope all day long
because of your goodness, O Lord.
Remember your mercy, Lord,
and the love you have shown from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth.
In your love remember me.
(Psalm 25:1-7)

A soul ordinarily needs instruction pertinent to its experience in order to be guided through the dark night to spiritual denudation and poverty. Without this instruction a person, even without wanting such things, would unknowingly become hardened in the way of the spirit and habituated to that of the senses, in which these communications are partly experienced. The spiritual father should instead proceed with much kindness and calm.

The Ascent of Mount Carmel: Book Two, Chapter 22

O St. John of the Cross
You were endowed by our Lord with the spirit of self-denial
and a love of the cross.
Obtain for us the grace to follow your example
that we may come to the eternal vision of the glory of God.

O Saint of Christ’s redeeming cross
the road of life is dark and long.
Teach us always to be resigned to God’s holy will
in all the circumstances of our lives
and grant us the special favor
which we now ask of thee
(mention your request).

Above all, obtain for us the grace of final perseverance,
a holy and happy death and everlasting life with you
and all the saints in heaven.
Amen.

Saint John of the Cross facing demons - Puebla
Saint John of the Cross facing demons
José Joaquín Magón (Mexican, 18th c.)
Oil on canvas, 1750-1763
Templo de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Puebla, Mexico
More details here

Advent 1: Alert

The reason for this dryness is that God transfers his goods and strength from sense to spirit … But through this nourishment the spirit grows stronger and more alert.

Saint John of the Cross

gary-bendig-169660-unsplash
Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash

Porque la causa de esta sequedad es porque muda Dios los bienes y fuerza del sentido al espíritu … mas el espíritu que va recibiendo el manjar, anda fuerte y más alerto.

San Juan de la Cruz

The Dark Night: Book One, Chapter 9
The Collected Works of Saint John of the Cross, Revised Edition
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
With Revisions and Introductions by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D.
ICS Publications
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

 

Milky Way over Cathedral Rock
Night is the necessary cosmic expression of St. John of the Cross’s mystical world-view. – Edith Stein
JUANdelaCRUZ - I know a well
Remembering the 440th anniversary of St. John of the Cross’ nighttime escape from his prison cell in the Toledo monastery of the Ancient Observance of the Carmelite Friars, during the octave of the Assumption, 1578

St. Edith Stein Novena – Day 8

SCRIPTURE READING
Wisdom 19:6-17

God Guides and Protects His People

6 The whole nature of the universe was changed at your command so that your people would not be harmed. 7 They saw the cloud over their camp and dry land where water had been. There was a grass-covered plain between the stormy waves of the Red Sea, making it easy for them to cross over. 8 All your people, under your protection, saw this miracle and went across. 9 They pranced about like horses let out to pasture; they skipped about like lambs and praised you, Lord, for saving them. 10 They still remembered what life had been like when they were slaves—how the earth bred gnats instead of cattle, how the river produced huge numbers of frogs instead of fish. 11-12 Later, when they desperately wanted better food, quails came up from the sea to satisfy their hunger. The quail was a bird they had never seen before.

The Punishment of the Egyptians

13 But violent thunder gave warning of the punishment that was coming on those sinners. They suffered a well-deserved punishment for their great wickedness. No nation had ever hated strangers so bitterly. 14 Other people had been known to refuse welcome to strangers who came to them, but these people made slaves of those who were their guests and who had shown them kindness. 15 Every nation will be punished if it does not welcome foreigners, 16 but these people, who had earlier welcomed the foreigners with happy celebrations and treated them as equals, later made them suffer cruelly. 17 These people were also struck with blindness, like the men of Sodom who came to the door of that righteous man Lot. They found themselves in total darkness, as each one groped around to find his own door.

MEDITATION
The Science of the Cross 3.C.(3)

The purgative dryness of the dark night

A case of purgative dryness of the dark night can be discerned by three signs:

1) that the soul finds no delight in creatures;

2) that “the soul turns to God solicitously and with painful care, and thinks it is not serving God but turning back because it is aware of this distaste for the things of God.”

3) one recognizes purgative dryness in that “the soul is powerless in spite of all its efforts to meditate and make use of the imagination, the interior sense, . . . God no longer communicates himself through the senses as he did before, by means of the discursive analysis and synthesis of ideas, but has now begun to communicate himself through pure spirit by an act of simple contemplation for which neither the exterior nor the interior senses of the sensory human being have any capacity.”

This dark and, for the senses, dry contemplation is “something secret and hidden and even for the one who possesses it, mysterious.” Ordinarily, it imparts to the soul an inclination and a demand to remain alone and at rest. She is unable to dwell on any particular thought, nor does she have any desire to do so. If those in whom this occurs knew how to remain quiet, “they would soon experience in that unconcern and idleness a precious interior nourishment. This refection is namely so delicate that the soul cannot usually feel it if it desires it excessively or tries to experience it specifically. . . . It is like air that escapes when one tries to grasp it in one’s hand . . . God deals with the soul in this state in such a manner and leads it along such a special way that, if it desires to work with its own faculties and strength, it would rather hinder than help the work of God.” The peace God produces in the spirit through the dryness of the sensory being is “spiritual and most precious” and its “fruit is quiet, delicate, solitary, satisfying, and peaceful, and far removed from all the earlier gratifications which were more palpable and sensory.” So one understands that only the dying of the sensory being is felt and nothing is experienced of the beginning of the new life that is concealed beneath it.

It is no exaggeration when we call the suffering of the souls in this state a crucifixion. In their inability to make use of their own faculties they are as though nailed fast. And to the dryness is added the torment of fear that they are on the wrong path.

PRAYER

Lord, God of our fathers,
you brought Saint Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross
at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after you, the supreme truth,
and to remain faithful until death
to the covenant of love ratified in the blood of your Son
for the salvation of all men and women.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

StoneMountainStatePark_andrew-neel-209619-unsplash
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
The Science of the Cross 
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 6 
ICS Publications, Washington DC 
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

 

 

St. Edith Stein Novena – Day 7

SCRIPTURE READING
Psalm 131

1 O Lord, my heart is not proud
nor haughty my eyes.
I have not gone after things too great
nor marvels beyond me.

2 Truly I have set my soul
in silence and peace.
A weaned child on its mother’s breast,
even so is my soul.

3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
both now and forever.

MEDITATION
The Science of the Cross 3.C.(3)

Passive Night as Crucifixion

It was mentioned earlier that the active entrance of the soul into the dark night is only possible for her because God’s grace anticipates her, draws her, and supports her along the entire way.

But for beginners this anticipatory and enabling grace does not as yet have the character of the dark night. Rather, God treats them the way a tender mother treats her tiny children—carrying them in her arms and feeding them with sweet milk: in all their spiritual exercises—in prayer, meditation, and mortifications—they receive abundant joy and consolation. This joy then motivates them to devote themselves to spiritual exercises. They are unaware of the imperfections that lie therein and how many faults they commit in their practice of virtue.

In order to be freed from all these defects we must be weaned from the milk of consolations and be fed with strengthening nourishment…. “After beginners have exercised themselves for a time in the way of virtue and have persevered in meditation and prayer and through the delight and satisfaction they experience in this have become detached from worldly things and have gained some spiritual strength in God, which helps them to restrain their appetites for creatures, and for God’s sake are able to suffer a little oppression and dryness without yearning to return to those better times when they experienced more pleasurable satisfaction and gratification… then… God darkens all this light and closes the door and the spring of sweet spiritual water they were tasting as often and as long as they desired…. Now he leaves them in such darkness that they do not know which way to turn in their discursive imaginings.”

PRAYER

Lord, God of our fathers,
you brought Saint Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross
at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after you, the supreme truth,
and to remain faithful until death
to the covenant of love ratified in the blood of your Son
for the salvation of all men and women.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

melanie-wasser-233297-unsplash
Photo by Melanie Wasser on Unsplash
The Science of the Cross 
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 6 
ICS Publications, Washington DC 
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

St. Edith Stein Novena – Day 3

SCRIPTURE READING
Psalm 63

.2 O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water.
.3 So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory.

.4 For your love is better than life,
my lips will speak your praise.
.5 So I will bless you all my life,
in your name I will lift up my hands.
.6 My soul shall be filled as with a banquet,
my mouth shall praise you with joy.

.7 On my bed I remember you.
On you I muse through the night
.8 for your have been my help;
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.
.9 My soul clings to you;
your right hand holds me fast.

MEDITATION
The Science of the Cross, I.6.(3)

Passive Night as Crucifixion

In the beginning, this being inflamed in love is not commonly perceived. The soul feels rather only dryness and emptiness, sorrowful fear and concern. And if she does feel any of the love, it is as a painful yearning for God, a smarting wound of love…

Now she is to travel on the constricted road, which is the night of the spirit. Of course, few will come so far, yet the advantages of the first night are very great: the soul is granted self-knowledge; she gains insight into her own misery, no longer finds anything good in herself and learns therefore to approach God with greater reverence. Yes, only now is she aware of the grandeur and majesty of God. Precisely this being freed from all sensory supports enables her to receive illumination and become receptive for the truth. That is why we find in the psalm: “In a desert land, without water, dry and without a way, I appeared before you to be able to see your power and your glory ” (Ps 63:1-2).

In dryness and emptiness the soul becomes humble. The earlier arrogance disappears when one no longer finds in oneself anything that would give reason to look down on others; instead, others now appear to one to be more perfect; love and esteem for them awakens in the heart. One is too occupied with one’s own misery to be concerned about others. Through her helplessness the soul also becomes subservient and obedient; she longs for instruction in order to reach the right way. Spiritual avarice is thoroughly healed; when one no longer finds any practice to one’s taste, one becomes very moderate and does whatever one does purely for the sake of God without seeking any satisfaction for the self. And so it goes with all imperfections. All the confusion and unrest disappear with them. Instead, a deep peace and a constant remembrance of God are established. The only care that remains is the concern not to displease God.

PRAYER

Lord, God of our fathers,
you brought Saint Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross
at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after you, the supreme truth,
and to remain faithful until death
to the covenant of love ratified in the blood of your Son
for the salvation of all men and women.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

EDITH - In dryness and emptiness the soul becomes humble
Photo by Marko Zupan on Unsplash
The Science of the Cross 
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 6 
ICS Publications, Washington DC 
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Penetrating ray

Are you the ray
That flashes down from the eternal Judge’s throne
And breaks into the night of the soul
That had never known itself?

Holy Spirit—ray that penetrates everything!

Saint Edith Stein

Hope-clouds

Holy Spirit—ray that penetrates everything!
The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Book 4
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

The Marie du jour – May 6

 

Divine virginity has a characteristic aversion to sin as the contrary of divine holiness. However, this aversion to sin gives rise to an indomitable love for sinners. Christ has come to tear sinners away from sin and to restore the divine image in defiled souls. He comes as the child of sin—his genealogy and the entire history of the Old Covenant show this—and he seeks the company of sinners so as to take all the sins of the world upon himself and carry them away to the infamous wood of the cross, which thereby precisely becomes the sign of his victory. This is precisely why virginal souls do not repulse sinners. The strength of their supernatural purity knows no fear of being sullied. The love of Christ impels them to descend into the darkest night. And no earthly maternal joy resembles the bliss of a soul permitted to enkindle the light of grace in the night of sins. The way to this is the cross. Beneath the cross the Virgin of virgins becomes the Mother of Grace.

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Beneath the cross the Virgin of virgins becomes the Mother of Grace.
2018-05-06 (2)
The Crucifixion with Saints and a Donor (detail)
Joos van Cleve (Netherlandish, ca. 1485–1540/41) and a collaborator
Oil on wood, ca. 1520
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Text
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Book 4, (pp. 113-114)
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

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