Quote of the day: 9 February

Since this is the proper moment, we ought to point out another benefit resulting from this night and dryness of the sensory appetite. So that the prophecy—your light will illumine the darkness (Is. 58:10)—may be verified, God will give illumination by bestowing on the soul not only knowledge of its own misery and lowliness but also knowledge of His grandeur and majesty.

When the sensory appetites, gratifications, and supports are quenched, the intellect is left clean and free to understand the truth, for even though these appetites and pleasures concern spiritual things, they blind and impede the spirit. Similarly, the anguish and dryness of the senses illumine and quicken the intellect, as Isaiah affirms: Vexation makes one understand (Is. 28:19). But God also, by means of this dark and dry night of contemplation, supernaturally instructs in His divine wisdom the soul that is empty and unhindered (which is the requirement for his divine inpouring), which He did not do through the former satisfactions and pleasures.

Isaiah explains this clearly: To whom will God teach his knowledge? And to whom will he explain his message? To them that are weaned, he says, from the milk, and to them who are drawn away from the breasts (Is. 28:9). This passage indicates that the preparation for this divine inpouring is not the former milk of spiritual sweetness or aid from the breast of the discursive meditations of the sensory faculties that the soul enjoyed, but the privation of one and a withdrawal from the other.

In order to hear God, people should stand firm and be detached in their sense life and affections, as the prophet himself declares: I will stand on my watch (with detached appetite) and will fix my foot (I will not meditate with the sensory faculties) in order to contemplate (understand) what God says to me (Heb. 2:1).

We conclude that self-knowledge flows first from this dry night and that from this knowledge as from its source proceeds the other knowledge of God. Hence St. Augustine said to God: “Let me know myself, Lord, and I will know you.” For as the philosophers say, one extreme is clearly known by the other.

Saint John of the Cross

The Dark Night: Book One, Chapter 12

 

Zodiacal Light over La Silla European Southern Laboratory Flickr 5161784698
This image beautifully captures the zodiacal light, a triangular glow seen best in night skies free of overpowering moonlight and light pollution. The photograph was taken at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile in September 2009, facing west some minutes after the Sun had set. A sea of clouds has settled in the valley below La Silla, which sits at an altitude of 2400 metres (1.49 miles), with lesser peaks and ridges poking through the mist. | Credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky, European Southern Observatory / Flickr 

 

 

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.

Quote of the day: 27 December

Discourse

His Holiness John Paul II

Speech to the Planning Commission
IV Centenary of St. John of the Cross
Friday, 16 November 1990


“Following your footprints”, as the mystic poet himself sings, he has followed his life’s journey in search of God, discovering his presence in creation and in creatures. Now, “following in his footprint”the footprint that John of the Cross has left in his writingsthe Church in Spain and, in particular, the people of Castile and León want to undertake a journey that may become an illuminated trail in personal and family life, in culture and in the witness of Christians in the midst of society.

John of the Cross, master in the faith, is also a guide on the pathways of life. His word, profound and thoughtful, suggests to men and women all the fullness of their dignity in the demanding task of approaching the mystery of existence, in the human fatigue of believing by overcoming the darkness, and in the integration of loving God and neighbor, since, as the Saint beautifully says, “After all, this love is the end for which we were created”.


The solemn canonization of Saint John of the Cross was held on 27 December 1726, decreed and celebrated by Pope Benedict XIII. He was raised to the altar together with St. Turibius of Mogrovejo, St. Francis Solano and St. Peregrine Laziosi of the Servite Order by the Papal Bull “Pia Mater Ecclesia”. (Source: Efemérides Carmelitanas)

 

 

Arnold_van_Westerhout_-_Portrait_of_John_of_the_Cross-1719
Blessed Father John of the Cross, Arnold van Westerhout engraving 1719 (Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

“A zaga de tu huella”, como canta el mismo poeta místico, él ha recorrido el camino de su vida a la búsqueda de Dios, descubriendo su presencia en la creación y en las criaturas. Ahora, “a zaga de su huella” —la que Juan de la Cruz ha dejado en sus escritos—, quieren la Iglesia en España y, en particular, las gentes de Castilla y León emprender un camino que sea estela luminosa en la vida personal y familiar, en la cultura y en el testimonio de los cristianos en medio de la sociedad.

Juan de la Cruz, maestro en la fe, es también guía en los senderos de la vida. Su palabra, honda y pausada, sugiere al hombre toda la plenitud de su dignidad en la ardua tarea de acercarse al misterio de la existencia, en la humana fatiga del creer superando la oscuridad, en la síntesis del amar a Dios y al prójimo, ya que, como hermosamente dice el Santo “Al fin, para este fin de amor fuimos creados”.


Solemne canonización de S. Juan de la Cruz, el día de 27 de diciembre de 1726, decretada y celebrada por el Papa Benedicto XIII; elevado a los altares juntamente con Sto. Toribio de Mogrovejo, S. Francisco Solano y Peregrino Gratiosi de los siervos de María, por la Bula papal “Pía Mater Ecclesia”.  (Fuente: Efemérides Carmelitanas)

 

 

This English translation of Saint John Paul's Spanish discourse is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

Pentecost Novena: St. Edith Stein — Day 1

EDITH - Pentecost Novena 1 IGsize
Pentecost Novena: St. Edith Stein — Day 1

 

Who are you, sweet light, that fills me
And illumines the darkness of my heart?
You lead me like a mother’s hand,
And should you let go of me,
I would not know how to take another step.


Saint Edith Stein

And I Remain With You:
From a Pentecost Novena

Day 1

 

The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 4
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.

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