Happy Feast Day, everyone! It’s late, but here is a little something in honor of the Carmelite saint whom all Discalced Carmelites call “our Holy Father”, just as we call St. Teresa “our Holy Mother”.
One of our local Discalced Carmelite Friars here in Little Rock, Fr. Sam Anthony Morello, OCD, came today to give us our biweekly conference and hear our confessions. I asked him if I could share with you a few of his words on St. John of the Cross.
Here is the intro paragraph of his conference:
Today, in the person of our father, St. John of the Cross, we honor one of Spain’s great saints and one of its finest poets, if not the finest poet. [In competition with him is the eminent Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (c.1547-1616), celebrated as the greatest writer in Spanish History (Don Quixote – pioneer of the modern novel).] As you know, St. John’s life unfolded mainly in 16th C. Castile, from 1542 to 1591, dying at the age of 49. His mystical poetry and extensive prose commentaries on his poetry have merited for him the title of doctor of the church for his penetrating analysis of the transforming process of contemplative grace. He is the mystical doctor and teacher par excellence of the apophatic way, i.e., the so called ‘negative way‘, the surer way of ‘dark faith and hope and love’, cultivated beyond feeling and image and notion, energized only by the poignant desire for God as he really IS in the Awesome Mystery of his Diffusive Being.
Now take that last line to prayer!
God bless you all, through the intercession of St. John of the Cross.
The small stone plaque on display in front of our altar in the Nuns’ Choir today.
And the beautiful bronze statue placed in the refectory today.
To close this night I will share with you the “Night Sentence” we just heard, which is said in the corridor of the cells before each sister retires for the night:
The gate entering into these riches of his wisdom is the cross, which is narrow, and few desire to enter by it, but many desire the delights obtained from entering there.
St. John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, 37:36