Friday, December 14, 2007

One of our super heroes!

Today is the feast of St. John of the Cross, mystic and poet, a giant in the Church's treasury of saints. He was born at Fontiveros in Spain around 1542. After a number of years as a Carmelite, he was persuaded by Saint Teresa of Avila in 1568 to lead a reform movement among the brothers which brought a new energy to the Carmelite Order. It also brought St. John many, many sufferings. His famous works are The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night of the Soul and The Living Flame of Love.

In his Spiritual Canticle he writes that we must "dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures; however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides." Speaking from personal experience, St. John reveals to us that "the soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters the thicket of suffering..." For those of us who struggle against suffering, be it small or big, know that we can offer our sufferings to God and ask Him to pour into our hearts some new treasure of grace that will enable us to know him in a deeper way.St. John of the Cross is renowned for his spiritual writings including his poetry. Here is a lovely example concerning

The Incarnation

Then he summoned an archangel,
Saint Gabriel: and when he came,
Sent him forth to find a maiden,
Mary was her name.

Only through her consenting love
Could the mystery be preferred
That the Trinity in human
Flesh might clothe the Word

Though the three Persons worked the wonder
It only happened in the One.
So was the Word made incarnation
In Mary's womb, a son.

So He who only had a Father
Now had a Mother undefiled,
Though not as ordinary maids
ad she conceived the Child.

By Mary, and with her own flesh
He was clothed in His own frame;
Both Son of God and Son of Man
Together had one name.

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