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John of the Cross (1542 – 1591)


Spanish Carmelite mystic and poet.
John of the Cross
Oh night thou was my guide
Oh night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover to the beloved one
transforming each of them into the other.
John of the Cross quotes
When the soul, then, in any degree possesses the spirit of solitary love, we must not interfere with it. We should inflict a grievous wrong upon it, and upon the Church also, if we were to occupy it, were it only for a moment, in exterior or active duties, however important they might be. When God Himself adjures all not to waken it from its love, who shall venture to do so, and be blameless? In a word, it is for this love that we are all created. Let those men of zeal, who think by their preaching and exterior works to convert the world, consider that they would be much more edifying to the Church, and more pleasing unto God setting aside the good example they would give if they would spend at least one half their time in prayer, even though they may have not attained to the state of unitive love.
John of the Cross
When Thou didst regard me,
Thine eyes imprinted in me Thy grace:
For this didst Thou love me again,
And thereby mine eyes did merit
To adore what in Thee they saw. ~ 32




John of the Cross quotes
Souls will be unable to reach perfection who do not strive to be content with having nothing, in such fashion that their natural and spiritual desire is satisfied with emptiness; for this is necessary in order to reach the highest tranquility and peace of spirit. Hence the love of God in the pure and simple soul is almost continually in act.
John of the Cross
Let us rejoice, O my Beloved!
Let us go forth to see ourselves in Thy beauty,
To the mountain and the hill,
Where the pure water flows:
Let us enter into the heart of the thicket. ~ 36
John of the Cross quotes
There is nothing better or more necessary than love.
John of the Cross
The breathing of the air,
The song of the sweet nightingale,
The grove and its beauty
In the serene night,
With the flame that consumes, and gives no pains. ~ 39
John of the Cross quotes
When the soul has arrived at this state all the acts of its spiritual and sensual nature, whether active or passive, and of whatever kind they may be, always occasion an increase of love and delight in God: even the act of prayer and communion with God, which was once carried on by reflections and divers other methods, is now wholly an act of love. So much so is this the case that the soul may always say, whether occupied with temporal or spiritual things, "My sole occupation is love." Happy life! happy state! and happy the soul which has attained to it!
John of the Cross
Reveal Thy presence,
And let the vision and Thy beauty kill me,
Behold the malady
Of love is incurable
Except in Thy presence and before Thy face. ~ 11
John of the Cross
He who loves is not ashamed before men of what he does for God, neither does he hide it through shame though the whole world should condemn it.
John of the Cross
If you desire to discover peace and consolation for your soul and to serve God truly, do not find your satisfaction in what you have left behind, because in that which now concerns you you may be as impeded as you were before, or even more. But leave as well all these other things and attend to one thing alone that brings all these with it (namely, holy solitude, together with prayer and spiritual and divine reading), and persevere there in forgetfulness of all things.




John of the Cross quotes
The soul that desires God to surrender himself to it entirely must surrender itself entirely to him without keeping anything for itself.
John of the Cross
Upon a darkened night the flame of love was burning in my breast
And by a lantern bright I fled my house while all in quiet rest.
Shrouded by the night and by the secret stair I quickly fled.
The veil concealed my eyes while all within lay quiet as the dead
John of the Cross quotes
I have said that God is pleased with nothing but love; but before I explain this, it will be as well to set forth the grounds on which the assertion rests. All our works, and all our labours, how grand soever they may be, are nothing in the sight of God, for we can give Him nothing, neither can we by them fulfil His desire, which is the growth of our soul. As to Himself He desires nothing of this, for He has need of nothing, and so, if He is pleased with anything it is with the growth of the soul; and as there is no way in which the soul can grow but in becoming in a manner equal to Him, for this reason only is He pleased with our love. It is the property of love to place him who loves on an equality with the object of his love. Hence the soul, because of its perfect love, is called the bride of the Son of God, which signifies equality with Him. In this equality and friendship all things are common, as the Bridegroom Himself said to His disciples: I have called you friends, because all things, whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known to you.
John of the Cross
There thou wilt show me
That which my soul desired;
And there Thou wilt give at once,
O Thou, my life!
That which Thou gavest me the other day. ~ 38
John of the Cross quotes
My Beloved is the mountains,
The solitary wooded valleys,
The strange islands,
The roaring torrents,
The whisper of the amorous gales;
The tranquil night
At the approaches of the dawn,
The silent music,
The murmuring solitude,
The supper which revives, and enkindles love. ~ 14 & 15
John of the Cross
There He taught me the science full of sweetness.
And there I gave to Him
Myself without reserve;
There I promised to be His bride. ~ 27
John of the Cross quotes
When a soul has advanced so far on the spiritual road as to be lost to all the natural methods of communing with God; when it seeks Him no longer by meditation, images, impressions, nor by any other created ways, or representations of sense, but only by rising above them all, in the joyful communion with Him by faith and love, then it may be said to have found God of a truth, because it has truly lost itself as to all that is not God, and also as to its own self.
John of the Cross
Despise me not,
For if I was swarthy once
Thou canst regard me now;
Since Thou hast regarded me,
Grace and beauty hast Thou given me. ~ 33
John of the Cross
In solitude she lived,
And in solitude built her nest;
And in solitude, alone
Hath the Beloved guided her,
In solitude also wounded with love. ~ 35


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