Quote of the day: 17 August

To Padre Jerónimo Gracián, Madrid
Avila, 21-22 August 1578

I tell you that ever-present to me is what they did with Fray John of the Cross, for I don’t know how God bears with things like that; even you don’t know everything about it. For all these nine months he was held in a little prison cell where small as he is, he could hardly fit. In all that time he was given no change of tunic, even though he had come close to the point of death. Only three days before his escape the subprior gave him one of his shirts. He underwent harsh scourges, and no one was allowed to see him.

I experience the greatest envy. Surely our Lord found in him the resources for such a martyrdom. And it is good that this be known so that everyone will be all the more on guard against these people. May God forgive them, amen.

An investigation should be conducted to show the nuncio what those friars did to this saint, Fray John, without any fault on his part, for it is a pitiful thing. Tell this to Fray Germán; he will do it because he’s quite mad about this …

Teresa de Jesús


Saint John of the Cross escaped from his prison cell in Toledo during the night of 17-18 August 1578. We share the following editorial notes from Father Kieran Kavanaugh:

“These are two fragments from one letter. They reflect Teresa’s first impressions on learning of St. John of the Cross’s escape from his prison cell in Toledo and of what he suffered there.”

The nuncio at the time was the Italian Archbishop Filippo (Felipe) Sega. Father Kavanaugh’s editorial note is too tantalizing to excerpt, so we present it in its entirety.

Born in Bologna, he became Bishop of Ripa and nuncio to Flanders before being appointed nuncio to Spain in 1577 as successor to Ormaneto. He entered Spain with a bias against Teresa and her reform, the source of which was Cardinal Buoncompagni, a relative of his and nephew of the pope. But the entire conflict that had developed in Spain among the Carmelites was so complex that he had little inkling of what he was getting into. He supported Tostado who was seeking to put into effect the decisions of the chapter of Piacenza. It was he who called Teresa “a restless, gadabout woman.”

Sega considered the discalced friars who took part in the chapter of Almodóvar in 1578 delinquents and rebels, never listened to their defense, and imprisoned their leaders in different monasteries of the observant Carmelites.

Through the intervention of the king, an investigating committee was set up, and the friars as a result were placed under the care of Angel de Salazar, a former provincial of the observant Carmelites in Castile. Salazar dealt with the matter gently and promoted greater peace between the two groups of friars. Sega then mellowed somewhat and acquiesced when the discalced formed a separate province. After leaving Spain, he served in Portugal, Germany, and France. He was made a cardinal in 1591 and died in Rome.

Finally, we share Father Kavanaugh’s note concerning Fray Germán: “Fray Germán de San Matías was a confessor for the nuns at the Incarnation along with John of the Cross. He was taken prisoner at the same time as John, but very soon afterward broke free from his captors.”

 

Filippo_Sega nuncio who jailed Juan
Cardinal Filippo Sega (1537-1596) | Wikimedia Commons

 

Kieran Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O, and Teresa, 1976, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, ICS Publications, Washington DC.
Crossroads between Centenillo and La Carolina, Jaen, Andalucia 14513925649_9c136c4e49_o rufo_83 Flickr
This dehesa, a type of pastureland or meadow typical of the Iberian peninsula, is located near the road that leads from La Carolina to Centenillo in the province of Jaén. It was in this region where the convent of la Peñuela was located at the time of St. John of the Cross. | rufo_83 / Flickr

 

God desires the least degree of obedience and submissiveness more than all those services you think of rendering him.

Saint John of the Cross
Sayings of Light and Love, No. 13

 

On 10 August 1591 Saint John of the Cross transferred from the friars’ convent in Segovia to the solitude of La Peñuela, where at last he was relieved of all offices in the order; once again he was a humble friar, forgotten, despised, and neglected… as he had always desired.

His superior was the Provincial, Father Antonio de Jesús, with whom he had begun the reform under the guidance of Saint Teresa many years earlier in their humble abode in Duruelo.

Although John was able to pray gloriously in the solitude of rocks and forest, difficulties lay ahead; within weeks he would develop erysipelas, a skin infection on his foot that would lead to septicemia. By December, consumed by penances, trials, and his disease, Saint John of the Cross would be dead.

[Source: El médico interactivoEfemérides Carmelitanas]

 

Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O & John of the Cross 1991, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 4 August

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?

 

Red Rock Canyon NCA Bob Wick BLM
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Clark County, Nevada | Bob Wick, US Bureau of Land Management | mypubliclands / Flickr

 

The Living Flame Of Love: Stanza 3. 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.

Quote of the day: 10 July

I believe love does not allow us to pause for long here on earth, and besides Saint John of the Cross says so definitively; he has a wonderful chapter in which he describes the death of souls who are victims of love, the last assaults He gives them, then all the rivers of the soul, which are so immense they already resemble seas, go to lose themselves in the Ocean of divine love. Little sister, Saint Paul says that “our God is a consuming Fire.” If we remain always united to Him by a simple, loving gaze of faith; if, like our adored Master, we can say at the end of every day: “Because I love my Father, I always do what pleases Him,” He will really be able to consume us, and like two little sparks we will lose ourselves in the immense Furnace, free to burn there for all eternity.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 293 to Clémence Blanc (excerpt)
Beginning of July, 1906

 

ash blaze bonfire burn
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

 

Excerpt from Letter 293, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Quote of the day: 6 July

… Do not let what is happening to me, daughter, cause you any grief, for it does not cause me any. What greatly grieves me is that the one who is not at fault is blamed. Men do not do these things, but God, who knows what is suitable for us and arranges things for our good. Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love …

Saint John of the Cross
Letter 26 to Madre María de la Encarnación
6 July 1591

 

B1978.43.20
Rebecca Receiving the Bracelet at the Well
Benjamin West (American, 1738–1820)
Oil on canvas, 1775
Yale Center for British Art

 

Letters: Letter 26, 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.
JUANdelaCRUZ - It is our anxiety IGsize
I would desire that you not be so solicitous for the temporal things of the house because God will gradually forget you and you will come to a state of great spiritual and temporal need; for it is our anxiety that creates our needs. Cast your care on the Lord, daughter, and he will sustain you [Ps. 55:22], for he who gives, and wants to give, the highest cannot fail to give the least. Be careful that you do not lack the desire to be poor and in want; for if you do, at that very hour devotion will fail you and you will gradually weaken in the practice of virtue. If previously you desired poverty, now that you are superior you ought to desire and love it much more. You ought to govern and provide the house with virtues and ardent desires for heaven rather than with worries and plans about temporal and earthly things. The Lord tells us not to be thinking about food or clothing or tomorrow [Mt. 6:31-34].

 

Letters: Letter 21 to Madre María de Jesús
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.

Quote of the day: 12 May

Have a great love for those who contradict and fail to love you, for in this way love is begotten in a heart that has no love. God so acts with us, for he loves us that we might love by means of the very love he bears toward us.

Saint John of the Cross
Letter 33 to a discalced Carmelite nun in Segovia
Ubeda, October-November 1591

 

cross jesus summit cross
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Letters: Letter 33
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.

Quote of the day: 10 May

John of the Cross helps me to believe that God exists. He helps me to believe that death is not the end, that there is more to life than biology. He helps me to trust that God loves us and means to bring us to eternal life in heaven. In short, he helps me to believe that Christ is risen.

Father Iain Matthew, O.C.D.
Memory and hope in eternal life
Congresso Internazionale Memoria e speranza in san Giovanni della Croce
Teresianum, Rome — 9 May 2019

Angel of the Resurrection Tiffany IMAmuseumNewfields
Angel of the Resurrection
Frederick Wilson, Designer (American, 1858-1932)
Tiffany Studios, Manufacturer (American)
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

 

The dominant figure in American decorative arts for more than half a century, Louis Comfort Tiffany founded several firms to satisfy the strong demand for his art glass, metalwork, pottery and furniture. Tiffany’s enthusiasm for sensuous materials and striking colors found full expression in his stained-glass windows. From 1877 through the 1920s, he and his craftsmen produced thousands of windows for churches, institutions and homes across the United States.

Upon the death of her husband in 1901, the widow of United States president Benjamin Harrison commissioned Tiffany to create a window in his memory. The window, the lower half of which appears here, was installed in 1905 at the First Presbyterian Church, 16th and Delaware Streets, Indianapolis, where the president had served as an elder for more than 40 years. Absorbed in scores of projects, Tiffany probably left the window’s conception to his team of talented designers, contributing his own thought before giving final approval. The design shows Michael, the Angel of the Resurrection, signaling the dead to rise at Christ’s second coming. In keeping with the romanticism of the time, Tiffany’s heroic angel is dressed in the chain mail suit of a crusading knight and seems like a figure from Sir Walter Scott’s novels…

Learn more about this artwork here

Watch Father Iain Matthew’s conference in English here

 

Quote of the day: 26 March

Be careful that you do not stop going to confession, and tell the same to your sisters. May you all recommend me to God, for I will never forget to do so for you.

Saint John of the Cross

Letter 2 (excerpt)
[To María de Soto, in Baeza
Granada, March 1582]

Haifa-icon
St. John of the Cross (Carmel of Haifa)

El Cántico Espiritual de san Juan de la Cruz y la Laudato si’ del Papa Francisco — Orden de Carmelitas Descalzos

El Cántico Espiritual de san Juan de la Cruz y la Laudato si’ del Papa Francisco

P. Antonio Barrios, carmelita teresiano

1) Introducción

Voy a utilizar el Cántico B, por ser la última redacción donde el santo precisó algunos puntos en base a su experiencia y enseñanza. El mismo Juan de la Cruz dice en…

via El Cántico Espiritual de san Juan de la Cruz y la Laudato si’ del Papa Francisco — Orden de Carmelitas Descalzos

No sea boba

Yo le digo que no sea boba, ni ande con temores que acobarden el alma. Dele a Dios lo que le ha dado y le da cada día, que parece quiere ella medir a Dios a la medida de su capacidad. Pues no ha de ser así. Aparéjese que le quiere Dios hacer una gran merced.

San Juan de la Cruz
A la M. Ana de san Alberto, OCD, Priora de Caravaca
Epistolario 3, 1582

Juan_writing
San Juan de la Cruz

Quote of the day: 24 February

To free yourself from the harm the world can do you, you should practice three precautions.

The first precaution

The first is that you should have an equal love for and an equal forgetfulness of all persons, whether relatives or not, and withdraw your heart from relatives as much as from others, and in some ways even more for fear that flesh and blood might be quickened by the natural love that is ever alive among kin, and must always be mortified for the sake of spiritual perfection.

Regard all as strangers, and you will fulfill your duty toward them better than by giving them the affection you owe God. Do not love one person more than another, for you will err; the person who loves God more is the one more worthy of love, and you do not know who this is. But forgetting everyone alike, as is necessary for holy recollection, you will free yourself from this error of loving one person more or less than another.

15373525997_835386917e_o
Johan Bergström-Allen/British Province of Carmelites

 

the person who loves God more is the one more worthy of love, and you do not know who this is

 

Do not think about others, neither good things nor bad. Flee them inasmuch as possible. And if you do not observe this practice, you will not know how to be a religious, nor will you be able to reach holy recollection or deliver yourself from imperfections. And if you should wish to allow yourself some freedom in this matter, the devil will deceive you in one way or another, or you will deceive yourself under some guise of good or evil.

In doing what we said, you will have security, for in no other way will you be capable of freeing yourself from the imperfections and harm derived from creatures.

Saint John of the Cross
The Precautions (excerpt)

Albert of Jerusalem Seminar 10oct2014
Carmelite and Discalced Carmelite friars pray together at a conference | Johan Bergström-Allen/British Province of Carmelites

At age 20, Juan de Yepes y Alvarez entered the Carmelite Order, being clothed with the habit on February 24, 1563, and taking the name Juan de Santo Matia (John of Saint Matthias).  Pursuing theological studies in Salamanca, he was ordained in 1567, and said his first Mass in Medina del Campo. During that trip, he first met Teresa of Avila, and she encouraged him to promote her reform among the men’s Order. In November, 1568, John and three other friars took up the observance of the primitive Carmelite Rule in a farmhouse near Duruelo. At that time, he changed his name in religion to Juan de la Cruz (John of the Cross).  [Source: Manuel Diego, O.C.D.]

The Precautions
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.
JUANdelaCRUZ - The soul lives where it loves SPANISH
Mas ¿cómo perseveras, ¡oh vida!,
no viviendo donde vives?
Para cuya inteligencia es de saber que el alma más vive donde ama que en el cuerpo donde anima, porque en el cuerpo ella no tiene su vida, antes ella la da al cuerpo, y ella vive por amor en lo que ama.
Cántico Espiritual (CB): Canción 8
JUAN dela CRUZ - For he truly loves you SPANISH IGsize
San Juan de la Cruz
Epistolario 15. – A la M. Leonor de san Gabriel, OCD, en Córdoba
De Segovia y julio 8 de 1589

 

Advent 14: A little song

… is a little song for Fray John of the Cross they sent me from the Incarnation. Tell him that I told you I greatly enjoyed it. I would like Francisco to sing it for you.

Letter 171

Cancionero_de_Palacio

… un cantarcillo a fray Juan de la Cruz, que me enviaron de la Encarnación. Diga que yo lo digo, que me cayó muy en gracia; para que cante Francisco a vuestra merced.

Carta 171

Letters: Letter 171 to Lorenzo de Cepeda, Avila; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila 
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted)
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC 
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Dark Night of the Soul | Ola Gjeilo

Nota bene: there is no preview image for the video.
Simply click on the link above to view the performance on YouTube.

+ + +   + + +   + + +

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)

Nothing more to say

In this era of grace, now that the faith is established through Christ and the Gospel law made manifest, there is no reason for inquiring of him in this way, or expecting him to answer as before. In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word – and he has no more to say

Those who now desire to question God or receive some vision or revelation are guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending him by not fixing their eyes entirely on Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.

God could answer as follows: If I have already told you all things in my Word, my Son, and if I have no other word, what answer or revelation can I now make that would surpass this? Fasten your eyes on him alone because in him I have spoken and revealed all and in him you will discover even more than you ask for and desire

One should not, then, inquire of God in this manner, nor is it necessary for God to speak any more.

SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS

The Ascent of Mount Carmel: Book Two, Chapter 22

 

Novena to St. John of the Cross – Day 9

Lord, I have given up my pride
and turned away from my arrogance.
I am not concerned with great matters
or with subjects too difficult for me.
Instead, I am content and at peace.
As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms,
so my heart is quiet within me.
Israel, trust in the Lord
now and forever!
(Psalm 131)

The soul is incapable of truly acquiring control of the passions and restriction of the inordinate appetites without forgetting and withdrawing from the sources of these emotions. Disturbances never arise in a soul unless through the apprehensions of the memory. When all things are forgotten, nothing disturbs the peace or stirs the appetites. As the saying goes: What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t want.

The Ascent of Mount Carmel: Book Three, Chapter 5

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.

Vision of Segovia - unidentified Quito artist - Carmelo Carmen Alto
Vision of Segovia
Unidentified Quito Artist (Ecuador, 18th c.)
Oil on canvas, 18th c.
Monasterio del Carmen Alto, Quito, Ecuador
More detail here | More images of St. John of the Cross from PESSCA here

Nota bene: We are grateful to Professor Michael Ogunu, O.C.D.S., of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites in Nigeria for sharing this novena.

Advent 13: Spirit

Daughter, Father John of the Cross is going there. Let the nuns in that monastery speak to him of matters concerning their souls with simplicity as though they were speaking with me, for he has the spirit of our Lord.

Saint Teresa to Madre Ana de San Alberto, Letter 323

Vision of Segovia - Carmelo de Medellin
Vision of Segovia
Unidentified artist
Oil on canvas, 18th or 19th c.
Monasterio Carmelita de San José, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
More details here

Hija, ahí va el padre Juan de la Cruz; trátenle sus almas con llaneza en ese convento como si yo misma fuera, porque tiene espíritu de nuestro Señor.

Santa Teresa a la Madre Ana de San Alberto, Carta 323

Letters: Letter 323 to Madre Ana de San Alberto; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila 
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted)
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC 
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑