Quote of the day: 15 April

J.M.+J.T.

Cologne-Lindenthal, <Easter Week, 1934>

Pax Christi!

Reverend and dear Mother Petra,

Before I go into holy silence, I feel compelled to send you heartfelt thanks for the charming Easter package. Our dear Mother <M. Josefa>, Mother Subprioress <Teresa Renata> and I happily unpacked it together, and on Holy Saturday night, an Easter rabbit and an Easter candle were stationed in every cell of the novices. I received the beautiful wooden candlestick with the large Easter candle, although I surmise this large light was intended for the Novice Mistress <Teresa Renata>. It will burn for me now during my retreat, when I make my meditation in the solitude of my cell, away from the community. Our holy Father John of the Cross will be my guide: the Ascent of Mount Carmel.

Probably I will be allowed to begin early on Friday. I would like most of all to remain in solitude until the morning of the Clothing, but there is a possibility that I will be called out the day before at the request of guests from out of town. I look forward with so much joy to the silence. As much as I love the Divine Office and as loath as I am to be away from the choir even for the shortest of the Hours—the basis of our life, after all, is the two hours of meditation provided by our schedule. Only since I’ve been enjoying this privilege do I know how much I missed by not having it outside. Our Reverend Mother will surely be glad to send along [with this letter] the ritual for the Clothing ceremony. It will be so much better if you can read it before it takes place—even though you cannot be present yourself.

May I beg you, together with your community, to help us with a very important intention? On the 11th, the General Chapter of the Congregation of Beuron will begin in Gerleve. We know there are very important questions to solve. Will you join us in prayers to the Holy Spirit for a successful outcome? I am also a bit interested in it personally. If Father Archabbot <Raphael Walzer> can close the Chapter on the 14th, he will be on time here to conduct the Clothing. But that, of course, is a small matter compared to all that is at stake there. I hardly need to say that I tell you this in confidence. I believe you will be happy to help because of your love for the Benedictine way of life.

Particular thanks for the Easter Prefaces: they are helping me celebrate the beautiful octave. And above all, thank you again for your love that I have in no way earned.

Always faithfully mindful of you, your grateful

Edith Stein

Letter 168 to Mother Petra Brüning, OSU, Dorsten
Original in Convent Archive of Ursuline Sisters, Dorsten

Edith-Stein_clothing-bridal-
Edith Stein on her clothing day, 15 April 1934 | Photo: Discalced Carmelite Order

 

Excerpt from Edith Stein's Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa
Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated by Josephine Koeppel
(The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)
Copyright © 1993 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

 

Quote of the day: 30 March

Should we strive for perfect love, you ask? Absolutely. For this we were created.

“Pure love” for our Holy Father John of the Cross means loving God for his own sake, with a heart that is free from all attachment to anything created: to itself and to other creatures, but also to all consolations and the like which God can grant the soul, to all particular forms of devotion, etc.; with a heart that wants nothing more than that God’s will be done, that allows itself to be led by God without any resistance. What one can do oneself to attain this goal is treated in detail in the Ascent of Mount Carmel. How God purifies the soul, in the Dark Night. The result, in the Living Flame and the Spiritual Canticle. (Basically, the whole way is to be found in each of the volumes, but each time one or other of the stages is predominant.)

He will not fail to give grace if we faithfully do the little we can do

Should we strive for perfect love, you ask? Absolutely. For this, we were created. [Perfect love] will be our eternal life, and here we have to seek to come as close to it as possible. Jesus became incarnate in order to be our way. What can we do? Try with all our might to be empty: the senses mortified; the memory as free as possible from all images of this world and, through hope, directed toward heaven; the understanding stripped of natural seeking and ruminating, directed to God in the straightforward gaze of faith; the will (as I have already said) surrendered to God in love.

The little — taken absolutely, is for us a great deal

This can be said very simply, but the work of an entire life would not attain the goal were God not to do the most essential. In the meantime, we may be confident that he will not fail to give grace if we faithfully do the little we can do. The little—taken absolutely, is for us a great deal. And while we are about it, we have to be careful not to wish to judge for ourselves how far we have come. Only God knows that. That brings me to Psalm 18 (so simple, as I understand the phrase). What we recognize of ourselves, and of our faults and behavior, is only the illuminated surface. The depth they come out of is to a large extent hidden from ourselves. God knows that depth and can purify it. The ab alienis can probably be understood in different ways. I think of it principally as what burdens us through unknown faults. But one could also think of that in which we are implicated by others. Delictum maximum probably is not to be understood as anything definite. To me it seems to point far more to Divine Mercy’s immensity and Salvation’s almighty power, for to them nothing is too great.

Saint Edith Stein

Letter 311 to Sister Agnella Stadtmüller, O.P. (Excerpts)
Written from the Carmel of Echt, 30 March 1940

Edith bust candle 21 july 18
Edith Stein shrine, St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, Louisville, Kentucky

 

Excerpt from Edith Stein's Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa
Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated by Josephine Koeppel
(The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)
Copyright © 1993 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

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)
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)

Quote of the day: 4 March

THE SPIRITUAL CANTICLE

This commentary on the stanzas that deal with the exchange of love between the soul and Christ, its Bridegroom, explains certain matters about prayer and its effects. It was written at the request of Mother Ana de Jesús, prioress of the Discalced Carmelite nuns of St. Joseph’s in Granada, in the year 1584.

PROLOGUE

1. These stanzas, Reverend Mother, were obviously composed with a certain burning love of God. The wisdom and charity of God is so vast, as the Book of Wisdom states, that it reaches from end to end [Wis. 8:1], and the soul informed and moved by it bears in some way this very abundance and impulsiveness in her words. As a result, I do not plan to expound these stanzas in all the breadth and fullness that the fruitful spirit of love conveys to them. It would be foolish to think that expressions of love arising from mystical understanding, like these stanzas, are fully explainable. The Spirit of the Lord, who abides in us and aids our weakness, as St. Paul says [Rom. 8:26], pleads for us with unspeakable groanings in order to manifest what we can neither fully understand nor comprehend.

Who can describe in writing the understanding he gives to loving souls in whom he dwells? And who can express with words the experience he imparts to them? Who, finally, can explain the desires he gives them? Certainly, no one can! Not even they who receive these communications. As a result, these persons let something of their experience overflow in figures, comparisons, and similitudes, and from the abundance of their spirit pour out secrets and mysteries rather than rational explanations.

If these similitudes are not read with the simplicity of the spirit of knowledge and love they contain, they will seem to be absurdities rather than reasonable utterances, as will those comparisons of the divine Song of Solomon and other books of Sacred Scripture where the Holy Spirit, unable to express the fullness of his meaning in ordinary words, utters mysteries in strange figures and likenesses. The saintly doctors, no matter how much they have said or will say, can never furnish an exhaustive explanation of these figures and comparisons, since the abundant meanings of the Holy Spirit cannot be caught in words. Thus the explanation of these expressions usually contains less than what they embody in themselves.

2. Since these stanzas, then, were composed in a love flowing from abundant mystical understanding, I cannot explain them adequately, nor is it my intention to do so. I only wish to shed some general light on them, since Your Reverence has desired this of me…

Ana_de_Jesús
Mother Ana de Jesús (Lobera) was born in Medina del Campo on November 25, 1545, and entered the Teresian Carmel on August 1, 1570. In 1575 she went to Beas as prioress, where she became an intimate friend of St. John of the Cross. She later served as prioress also in Granada and Madrid. In 1604 she went to France and Belgium where she made numerous foundations. She died in Brussels on March 4, 1621. The cause for her beatification is in process. | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelite Order

Read the official biography of the Servant of God on the website of the Discalced Carmelite General Postulation of the Causes of the Saints 

The Spiritual Canticle and biographic sketch of Ana de Jesús from
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: 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

Quote of the day: 6 February

From this spiritual source the faith and ardent love of John of the Cross and of Teresa of Jesus were nourished, two saints to whom, let me say it, I have entrusted myself since the years of my youth.

Saint John Paul II
Address to the Bishops of Oviedo and Valladolid on their Ad Limina Visit
6 February 1982

Quote of the day: 3 February

Jesus gave us the Cross so the Cross might give us Love

L 106 To Madame de Bobet

[February 10, 1902]
Dijon Carmel, February 10

J. M. + J. T.

Very dear Madame,

I don’t know how to thank you, you have spoiled me so much; if you knew how much pleasure you have given me! I so desired this beautiful Canticle of Saint John of the Cross, and, given by you with this pretty thought on its first page,* it is doubly precious to me. It is right here beside me on my little board in our dear little cell; but will I tell you that I need to look at it in order to think of you, dear Madame?

Oh no, of course not, for my thoughts and my heart, or rather my soul, find you in the One near whom there is neither separation nor distance and in whom it is so good to meet. Would you like Him to be our “Rendez-vous,” our Meeting Place, dear Madame? Our souls have certainly made an impact on each other: we know each other very little and we love each other so much. Oh! it is Jesus who has done that; may He thus bind us together and may He consume us in the flames of His love.

A Dieu, dear Madame, know that behind the grilles of Carmel you have a little heart that keeps a very faithful memory of you, a soul wholly united to yours and deeply fond of you. Thank you again. I don’t know how to say it, it is He who will bring it to you on behalf of His little fiancée.

Elizabeth of the Trinity

A kiss to dear little Simone. 

*The book Vie et oeuvres de saint Jean de la Croix, vol. 4, Le Cantique spirituel et La vive Flamme d’amour [Life and Works of Saint John of the Cross, vol. 4, The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love], 1892, 3d ed., autographed on February 3, 1902, by Mme. de Bobet, carries this thought: “Jesus gave us the Cross so the Cross might give us Love.”  Simone was Mme. de Bobet’s daughter.

The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel

Advent 17: Wisdom

And then we will go on
to the high caverns in the rock

The rock mentioned here, as St. Paul says, is Christ (1 Cor. 10:4). The high caverns of this rock are the sublime, exalted, and deep mysteries of God’s wisdom in Christ, in the hypostatic union of the human nature with the divine Word, and in the corresponding union of human beings with God, and the mystery of the harmony between God’s justice and mercy with respect to the manifestations of his judgments in the salvation of the human race. These mysteries are so profound that she very appropriately calls them high caverns: high, because of the height of the sublime mysteries; and caverns, because of the depth of God’s wisdom in them. As caverns are deep and have many recesses, so each of the mysteries in Christ is singularly deep in wisdom and contains many recesses of his secret judgments of predestination and foreknowledge concerning the children of the earth. She then adds:

which are so well concealed;

They are so well concealed that however numerous are the mysteries and marvels that holy doctors have discovered and saintly souls understood in this earthly life, all the more is yet to be said and understood. There is much to fathom in Christ, for he is like an abundant mine with many recesses of treasures, so that however deep individuals may go they never reach the end or bottom, but rather in every recess find new veins with new riches everywhere. On this account St. Paul said of Christ (Col. 2:3):

In Christ dwell hidden all treasures and wisdom.

The Spiritual Canticle: Stanza 37

 

Mesa Arch, Arches National Park, Utah
Mesa Arch, Arches National Park, Utah | Robbie Shade

 

Y luego a las subidas
cavernas de la piedra nos iremos.

La piedra que aquí dice, según dice san Pablo (1 Cor. 10, 4) es Cristo. Las subidas cavernas de esta piedra son los subidos y altos y profundos misterios de sabiduría de Dios que hay en Cristo sobre la unión hipostática de la naturaleza humana con el Verbo divino, y en la respondencia que hay a ésta de la unión de los hombres a Dios y en las conveniencias de justicia y misericordia de Dios sobre la salud del género humano en manifestación de sus juicios, los cuales, por ser tan altos y profundos, bien propiamente los llama subidas cavernas, por la alteza de los misterios subidos y cavernas por la hondura y profundidad de la sabiduría de Dios en ellos; porque así como las cavernas son profundas y de muchos senos así cada misterio de los que hay en Cristo es profundísimo en sabiduría y tiene muchos senos de juicios suyos ocultos de predestinación y presciencia en los hijos de los hombres. Por lo cual, dice luego:

Que están bien escondidas.

Tanto, que por más misterios y maravillas que han descubierto los santos doctores y entendido las santas almas en este estado de vida, les quedó todo lo más por decir, y aun por entender; y así hay mucho que ahondar en Cristo: porque es como una abundante mina con muchos senos de tesoros, que, por más que ahonden, nunca les hallan fin ni término, antes van en cada seno hallando nuevas venas de nuevas riquezas acá y allá. Que, por eso, dijo san Pablo (Cl. 2, 3) del mismo Cristo, diciendo:

En Cristo moran todos los tesoros y sabiduría escondidos

Cántico Espiritual (CB): Canción 37

Advent 16: Wisdom

Wisdom enters through love, silence, and mortification. It is great wisdom to know how to be silent and to look at neither the remarks, nor the deeds, nor the lives of others.

Sayings of Light and Love, 109

Nica Leon old man tshirt glasses dark background_hermes-rivera-265441-unsplash
A wise citizen of the Léon Department in Nicaragua | Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

La sabiduría entra por el amor, silencio y mortificación. Grande sabiduría es saber callar y no mirar dichos ni hechos ni vidas ajenas.

Puntos de amor, reunidos en Beas, 29

Sayings of Light and Love, 109
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.

 

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.

Novena to St. John of the Cross – Day 8

O True God, You are my God, the One whom I trust.
I seek You with every fiber of my being.
In this dry and weary land with no water in sight,
my soul is dry and longs for You.
My body aches for You, for Your presence.
I have seen You in Your sanctuary
and have been awed by Your power and glory.
Your steadfast love is better than life itself,
so my lips will give You all my praise.
I will bless You with every breath of my life;
I will lift up my hands in praise to Your name.

My soul overflows with satisfaction, as when I feast on foods rich in marrow and fat;
with excitement in my heart and joy on my lips, I offer You praise.
Often at night I lie in bed and remember You,
meditating on Your greatness till morning smiles through my window.
You have been my constant helper;
therefore, I sing for joy under the protection of Your wings.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand reaches down and holds me up.
(Ps. 63:1-8)

The soul here addresses its Bridegroom with deep love, esteeming him and thanking him for two admirable effects sometimes produced by him through this union… The first effect is an awakening of God in the soul, brought about in gentleness and love. The second is the breathing of God within it… And what overflows in it is its being tenderly and delicately inspired with love.

The Living Flame Of Love: Stanza 4

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.

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

Advent 12: burden

You should take care always to be inclined to the difficult more than to the easy, to the rugged more than to the soft, to the hard and distasteful in a work more than to its delightful and pleasant aspects; and do not go about choosing what is less a cross, for the cross is a light burden (Mt. 11:30). The heavier a burden is, the lighter it becomes when borne for Christ.

Saint John of the Cross
Counsels to a Religious, 6

Bohnsack_Advent dot drawing_10dec18
je ne suis pas ce qui m’est arrivé,
je suis ce que je choisis de devenir.
photo and artwork by david bohnsack, mccj

Tenga siempre cuidado de inclinarse más a lo dificultoso que a lo fácil, a lo áspero que a lo suave, y a lo penoso de la obra y desabrido que a lo sabroso y gustoso de ella, y no andar escogiendo lo que es menos cruz, pues es carga liviana (Mt. 11, 30); y cuanto más carga, más leve es, llevada por Dios.

San Juan de la Cruz
Avisos a un Religioso, 6

Counsels to a Religious, 6
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.

Novena to St. John of the Cross – Day 7

I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves, and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you, together with all God’s people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ’s love. Yes, may you come to know his love—although it can never be fully known—and so be completely filled with the very nature of God.
(Ephesians 3:16-19)

This spiritual marriage is incomparably greater than the spiritual betrothal, for it is a total transformation in the Beloved, in which each surrenders the entire possession of self to the other with a certain consummation of the union of love. The soul thereby becomes divine, God through participation, insofar as is possible in this life. And thus I think that this state never occurs without the soul’s being confirmed in grace, for the faith of both is confirmed when God’s faith in the soul is here confirmed. It is accordingly the highest state attainable in this life.

The Spiritual Canticle: Stanza 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.

Miracle of the Hat (The Reconciliation of the Litigants) - Puebla
Miracle of the Hat (The Reconciliation of the Litigants)
José Joaquín Magón (18th c. Mexican)
Oil on canvas, 1750-1763
Templo de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Puebla, Mexico
More details here

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

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