187 12-14-20 3rd WOA St John of the Cross
A man of very small physical stature, as a poet and mystic, is among the giants. What was rare about him was the combination of deep poetic sensitivity and articulateness with the rigorous thought-training of a Thomist philosophy and theology. Written as commentaries on his pomes, his spiritual works stress the need for asceticism as well as the far deeper purification of the soul by divine grace and by the unsought humiliations of external agents. Through a life of pure faith and love of God, the soul eventually attains the deepest mystical union. John’s writings are theologically substantial and that is why he is regarded not only as a mystic but also as a supreme Doctor of Mystical Theology. He was beatified in 1675, canonized in 1726, and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1926. The cult of John was not confined to his own Order, whose persecution reflects little credit on either branch of it but has spread not only throughout the Roman Catholic Church but also wherever the contemplative life is valued.
“What more do you want, o soul! And what else do you search for outside, when within yourself you posses your riches, delights, satisfaction and kingdom – your beloved whom you desire and seek? Desire him there, adore him there. Do not go in pursuit of him outside yourself. You will only become distracted and you won’t find him or enjoy him more than by seeking him within you.”
St John of the Cross.