Saint John of the Cross

Date: 
December 14, 2015
December 14, 2016
December 14, 2017
December 14, 2018
December 14, 2019
OCD commemoration: 
Solemnity
Classification: 
Priest
Doctor of the Church
Patron of the Order

When December 14 falls on a Sunday, the solemnity is transferred to the following day.

John was born at Fontiveros in Spain about 1542. He entered the Carmelites and with the permission of his superiors began to live a stricter life. Afterwards he was persuaded by Saint Teresa to begin, together with some others, the Discalced reform within the Order; this cost him much hard work and many trials. He died in Ubeda in 1591, outstanding in holiness and wisdom, to which his many spiritual writings give eloquent witness.

Traces of the divine beauty in creation

From The Spiritual Canticle by Saint John of the Cross

(Kavanaugh-Rodriguez 1979, pp. 434-45)

"Created things in themselves, as Saint Augustine declares, give testimony to God’s grandeur and excellence. For God created all things with remarkable ease and brevity, and in them he left some trace of who he is, not only in giving all things being from nothing, but even by endowing them with innumerable graces and qualities, making them beautiful in a wonderful order and unfailing dependence on one another. All of this he did through his own wisdom, the Word, his only begotten Son by whom he created them.

Saint Paul says: The Son of God is the splendor of his glory and the image of his substance. It should be known that only with this figure, his Son, did God look at all things, that is he communicated to them their natural being and many natural graces and gifts, and made them complete and perfect, as is said in Genesis: God looked at all things that he made, and they were very good. To look and behold that they were very good was to make them very good in the Word, his Son.

Not only by looking at them did he communicate natural being and graces, as we said, but also with this image of his Son alone, he clothed them in beauty by imparting to them supernatural being. This he did when he became man and elevated human nature in the beauty of God and consequently all creatures, since in human nature he was united with them all.

Accordingly, the Son of God proclaimed: If I be lifted up from the earth, I will elevate all things to me. And in this elevation of all things through the incarnation of his Son and through the glory of his resurrection according to the flesh, the Father did not merely beautify creatures partially, but rather we can say, clothed them wholly in beauty and dignity."

 

Carmelite Prayer: 
Lord, you endowed our Father Saint John of the Cross with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross. By following his example may we come to the eternal vision of your glory.