Tag Archives: John of the Cross

Soulrest

Healthy religion, as the very word re-ligio (“rebinding”) indicates, is the task of putting our divided realities back together again: human and divine, male and female, heaven and earth, sin and salvation, mistake and glory. The mystics–such as John of the Cross, Teresa of Ávila, and the author of The Song of Songs in the Bible–are those who put it together very well.

Our task as the body of Christ -the church- is to make things right in the world. Our world is fragmented and divided. In so many ways we are coming undone at the seams. Confusion, violence and evil are our calling cards. Religion no longer speaks to us and we don’t speak to it. The mystics suggest ways that we can rebind our lives to our God. John of the Cross said: “Reveal Thy presence, and let the vision and let Thy beauty kill me.” We are rebound when we invite His presence into our beings and permit that presence to be the primary force of our lives.

People scramble aimlessly to find peace in their lives and never look in the right Cros w sayingplace. Jesus said: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Isn’t that we what we all need, rested souls.   I like to call this “soulrest”. “Soulrest” only come when we develop a supernatural relationship with God through Jesus.

Try to develop way to seek “soulrest”

  • Observe a daily practice of silence
  • Develop the discipline of sacred reading
  • Write with God in mind
  • Seek out a spiritual companion

These things and many more can allow us to rebind with our Creator and His creation.

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Mystics

The Road

If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.

St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church.

——John of the Cross

John of the cross is the medieval mystic who gave us “Dark Night of the Soul.” In his work he challenges us to the work of being a Christian, and the strength that comes for the journey. He tells us that the strength comes from complete union with God. This union has a price, and it is separation from the world. In that dark night of separation John finds the peace of God.

Prayer Thought

Lord help us to seek union with you and to understand its cost.

1 Comment

Filed under John of the Cross, Prayer

Desire

Cross John of the CrossTo reach satisfaction in all
desire its possession in nothing,
To come to the knowledge of all
desire the knowledge of nothing.
To come to possess all
desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at being all
desire to be nothing.
— St. John of the Cross

Desire is a very strong emotion and it can lead us to good or bad. Our control of desire is the key to victory.

Prayer

Lord help me this day to desire nothing so that You may be able to give me more than I can imagine.

Amen

Leave a comment

Filed under John of the Cross

Self-Denial

“To reach the supernatural bounds a person must depart from his natural bounds and leave self far off in respect to his interior and exterior limits in order to mount from a low state to the highest.”

—–John of the Cross

Jesus and the BasinThe medieval mystic John of the Cross gives us advice to move towards “supernatural bounds.” Self-denial is a big step in that journey with Christ. This concept (self-denial) is at odds with our culture of more. As with all disciplines, true self-denial is developed slowly and with care. Begin with living more simply, caring for the small things of life, living a life of thanks and seeking to touch someone in need.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

—Jesus

Leave a comment

Filed under Jesus, John of the Cross

Prayer of a Soul Taken with Love

Lord God, my Beloved, if you still remember my sins in such a way that you do not do what I beg of you, do your will concerning them, my God, which is what I most desire, and exercise your goodness and mercy, and you will be known St. john of the Crossthrough them. And if you are waiting for my good works so as to hear my prayer through their means, grant them to me, and work them for me, and the sufferings you desire to accept, and let it be done. But if you are not waiting for my works, what is it that makes you wait, my most clement Lord? Why do you delay? For if, after all, I am to receive the grace and mercy that I entreat of you in your Son, take my mite, since you desire it, and grant me this blessing, since you also desire that. Who can free themselves from lowly manners and limitations if you do not lift them to yourself, my God, in purity of love? How will human beings begotten and nurtured in lowliness rise up to you, Lord, if you do not raise them with your hand that made them? You will not take from me, my God, what you once gave me in your only Son, Jesus Christ, in whom you gave me all I desire. Hence I rejoice that if I wait for you, you will not delay. With what procrastinations do you wait, since from this very moment you can love God in your heart? Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me. What do you ask, then, and seek, my soul? Yours is all of this, and all is for you. Do not engage yourself in something less or pay heed to the crumbs that fall from your Father’s table. Go forth and exult in your Glory! Hide yourself in it and rejoice, and you will obtain the supplications of your heart.

——John of the Cross

1 Comment

Filed under John of the Cross, Mystics, Prayer

Teresa of Avila #1

Teresa of Avila

 

“If, then, you sometimes fall, do not lose heart, or cease striving to make progress, for even out of your fall God will bring good, just as a man selling an antidote will drink poison before he takes it in order to prove its power.”

~ Teresa of Avila ~

Leave a comment

Filed under Quotes, Teresa of Avila

Living Flame of Love

O living flame of love that tenderly wounds my soul in its deepest center! Since now you are not oppressive, now consummate! if it be your will: tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

 

English: Saint John of the Cross, portrait

O sweet cautery, O delightful wound! O gentle hand! O delicate touch that tastes of eternal life and pays every debt! In killing you changed death to life.

 

O lamps of fire! in whose splendors the deep caverns of feeling, once obscure and blind, now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely, both warmth and light to their Beloved.

 

How gently and lovingly you wake in my heart, where in secret you dwell alone; and in your sweet breathing, filled with good and glory, how tenderly you swell my heart with love.

——- John of the Cross

Leave a comment

Filed under contemplative, John of the Cross, Poetry

Brave Knights and Heroic Courage

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith

“Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.”

—-C S Lewis

Not just children, but all of us need to experience brave knights and heroic courage. Every follower of Christ experiences difficult and dark times and without the encouragement of seeing others overcome adversities, we will fall utterly exhausted. With so many cruel enemies that prey upon the people of sincerity and faith, it is necessary that believers see and experience the stories of the giants of the faith.

For far too many years I neglected to acknowledge the suffering of my soul. Somehow I thought that if I lived a holy enough life, won enough spiritual victories, and just closed my eyes and prayed hard enough all things would be well. In Hebrews Chapter 11 we are given a long list of the behaviors of people of faith and there heroic lives. I have found great strength from the Fathers of the Church who withstood great afflictions to establish the Church that sustains us today. In studying the spiritual and physical afflictions of mystics Julian of Norwich and John of the Cross, I know that sufferings need not be hollow and spiritually useless. If we look closely enough, we can find present day heroes that quietly and faithfully practice their faith in our world. Their spiritual journeys enliven and strengthen my faith. Christians need to seek out and find strength in the stories of brave knights and heroic courage.

2 Comments

Filed under C. S. Lewis, Devotional Quotes, Encouragement

Discovering the Desert of My Soul

Candle PrayerI don’t exactly know why, but a few years ago I felt a real spiritual unction to study Christian Mysticism. My first thought was to look at the experiences of the monks of the desert. These Desert Fathers fled to the parched lands of Egypt to escape the “one size fits all” Christianity of Constantine’s Empire. The Abbas of the desert wanted to experience God as they thought He wanted to be experienced. That experience would not come as a result of legislated belief at the point of the sword of a Roman Legion. That kind of belief was no belief at all, for such a faith had to be discovered within their own souls. They could experience God in a mysterious way in their desert monasteries, and then direct others by sharing these experiences. God is a mystery, and He is best seen in a mystical way. In the desert they would find the Spirit that had apparently left the organized church, and indeed, they did. They were the first mystics.

 Many factors prohibited this mystical movement from being the major driving force of the church. All throughout history there have been famous mystics. Notable ones are, Julian of Norwich, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Ignatius of Loyola. I wanted to learn as much from them as I could, but in the middle of that experience something happened to my own way of thinking. Suddenly, the idea of certainty of belief was replaced with a deep, abiding appreciation for the mysterious nature of God. After all belief in God is mystery, not certainty, and can best be understood through the eyes of the mystic.

 I don’t claim to be a Christian mystic at the level of the people I have mentioned, but I do contend that thinking as a mystic can open new panoramas of faith. These panoramas can lead to a much broader view of the work of God, and a more intimate involvement with Him. Things like meditation, Lectio Divina, silence, and icons have taken on a new meaning in my life. They have become invitations to spiritual portals that I never knew existed.

Major realities I discovered by embracing Christian Mysticism:

  • God does live within me
  • God really speaks to me (not audibly)
  • God protects me at all times
  • God gives me strength beyond my ability
  • God owes me nothing
  • Evil wins sometime
  • Suffering is a spiritual discipline
  • Scripture is the Word of God and it still lives
  • Silence is the loudest prayer
  • Silence is a portal to God
  • There is more than one right answer

My journey into mysticism has not so much brought me closer to God, as it has helped me to understand how far I have to go. Jubilantly, I can say that I am not alone on the journey. He is with me! The mystical, monastic journey brought me to the desert of my soul, and there I found the face of God. I continue to travel through that desert with the traveling companions I have discovered. Thanks for reading this story and the other stories that I have written about these mystics who have become my friends.

11 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Contemplation, Desert Fathers, Icons, Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, Lectio Divina, Silence

A Thousand Graces

Drawing of the Crucifixion by St. John of the ...

Pouring out a thousand graces, 
he passed these groves in haste; 

and having looked at them, 
with his image alone,
clothed them in beauty.
——John of the Cross
Canticle Stanza 5

This stanza of John’s Canticle begins to tell us of the sheer beauty of the presence of God. Despite the fact that the seeker misses the grace that God so freely bestows, it is still there. The seeker is reminded of the ease of God’s creation and the testimony it leaves to everyone. In His haste, He gives a thousand graces. The beauty of the grove is a living testimony to Him.

Through His image alone, He clothes them with beauty. This beauty is beyond anything man can muster. The creation cries out the magnificence and power of the Creator. The seeker, like us, needs to take heed of what is given. When we feel the sense of abandonment as John of the Cross felt, we can look at the Word. In Romans we are told, “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.” Sometimes we do not see “the beloved” because we do not look. Nature finds Him when we are blind.

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Luke 12:27 KJV

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Journey, Contemplation, Devotional Quotes, John of the Cross