He was a sympathetic confessor and spiritual director, although he did not use the word director, preferring to speak of a spiritual teacher (maestro espiritual) or guide (guia). About. When we become aware of that presence, it is not some generic God but the indwelling Trinity that we discover made present to us by Christ and the gift of Christ that is the Spirit. But he is centrally concerned not to identify those purifying processes with what we would call clinical depression (or what he would have called melancholy, which he does discuss and carefully distinguishes from the dark night) or world-weariness or monastic acedia (spiritual torpor). The mystical tradition, however, knew the Song of Songs well. He wrote not for beginners in prayer but for those who were ready to enter into the life of contemplation. About this page. Jesus Christ selected the 12 apostles from among his early followers to become his closest companions. John, in addition to his estimable body of poetry, composed four substantive prose works: the unfinished Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night, The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love. Professor Lawrence S. Cunningham´s vignette on St. John of the Cross presented a street-wise poet-mystic-reformer. John did not consider himself an academic or a professional writer. If you login and register your print subscription number with your account, you’ll have unlimited access to the website. It is true that he holds up the cross, demands a certain asceticism and possesses a natural sympathy for the life of withdrawal and penance. An everyday reminder of what the Cross means to you can add joy and gratitude to ordinary days, difficult days, and even the best days. When such compositions are read, they seem to the reader absurdities rather than rational utterances. Many ancient civilizations included the cross in their drawings. So impressed where they with his erudition and spirituality, that they petitioned him to bring the Jesuits to Medina. During the nine days before Christmas, friends and family gather for the re-enactment, with two children dressing up to play the roles of Mary and Joseph. John does speak of the dark night of the senses and the dark night of the spirit in his treatise titled simply The Dark Night. You only get that at the cross. Characteristically enough, it was by a Benedictine monk who was preaching at an infant’s funeral. The cross was an ancient symbol of ornamental and religious value. If you’re already a subscriber or donor, thank you! His biographers have estimated that after his ordination, he traveled nearly 18,000 miles all over Spain, mainly on foot. This article also appeared in print, under the headline “St. In that sense, they were not unlike those good words visitors would request of the desert solitaries of the fourth century. St. John of the Cross is not easy to read; but when we read the poetry, the sayings and the few letters we possess, we sense almost intuitively that we are hearing someone who transmits to us profound spiritual experience that is shaped by the Word made flesh, the self-emptying of Christ on the cross and his exaltation in resurrection. This weekend, a C.D.C. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The Christian life is an unending festival. Proudly created with Wix.com. John’s desire to help those whom he met in his duties as a confessor to advance in the life of prayer is the key to understanding his writings. The peninsula had been penetrated by humanist learning both in its plain Erasmian form and in the kind of philological work that produced the famous polyglot Bible of Cardinal Ximenes at the beginning of the 16th century, as well as a steady stream of patristic and medieval texts translated into the Castilian language. Contact. In crucifixion a person was either tied or nailed to a wooden cross and left to hang until dead. His writings echo his knowledge of the psalter, his participation at Mass and the ordinary devotional life of a 16th-century Spanish friar (who loved to dance with an image of the infant Christ in his arms). In passing, it is also worthwhile to note that John would be unfamiliar with the term mystic or mysticism (words first used long after his death), but he does speak of mystical theology, a term that has behind it a millenium of history in the Christian tradition. John of the Cross, Mystic of Light” (1/30), by Lawrence S. Cunningham. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. However, John’s God is not some abstract divinity but rather a Trinitarian God: the One who from all eternity pours forth the Word both in eternity and in history. The Life-Changing Power of the Cross and the Resurrection By Debbie McDaniel “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. ‘There’s no stopping the baby.’ The pandemic won’t cancel Posadas this Christmas. St. John of the Cross is not easy to read; but when we read the poetry, the sayings and the few letters we possess, we sense almost intuitively that we are hearing someone who transmits to us profound spiritual experience that is shaped by the Word made flesh, the self-emptying of Christ on the cross and his exaltation in resurrection. Why did John combine these two disparate genres of poetry and prose? Modern civilization marks his birth by dividing time B.C. (1910). He summed up that belief in a little quatrain he wrote for Christmas, which in a few lines captures simple devotion, profound theology and the constant allure of grace: Before entering religion, John of the Cross was Juan de Yepes, son of Gonzalo de Yepes and Catalina Alvarez. The crucifixion and death of Jesus on the cross conferred a new significance to the use of the cross in Christianity. The widow Catalina´s family did not receive all the assistance she would have hoped from the Yepes family, and they were often on the verge of starvation. Juan de Yepes, the future St. John of the Cross, was a scholarship student at that school from 1559-1563. Teresa’s Life is one of the richest and most convincing accounts of visionary and unitive experiences in Christian mystical literature; her subsequent synthesis of the seven stages on the mystical… Street to see a stigmatic the fourth century ; one had to let go of them on St. of! Gifted poet, theologian and Mystic Word is, in Fontiveros, Avila, in., but the ends of each of its exploration and colonization in the final,! Our work by subscribing to the reader absurdities rather than rational utterances of Christ ” 2. 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