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The influence of saint john of the cross in the catholic spirituality

However inadequate this note may be, I nevertheless hope it will be of some value to you, and that it will at least increase your interest in this great mystical theologian and Saint of whom Saint John Paul II said: How can we forget here, among the many shining examples, the teachings of Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila? God is All in All.

Therefore, we were created to set our hearts on God. Behold, exclaims the Bridegroom, the kingdom of God is within you [Lk.

  • John of the Cross Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download;
  • Chapter 8 of Book 1;
  • He now speaks more of glorification than purification;
  • John limits himself in these treatises, although the subject of the stanzas comprise the whole of the mystical life and end only with Divine embraces of the soul transformed in God through love.

And his servant, the apostle St. You are the temple of God [2 Cor.

Saint John of the Cross

It brings special happiness to a person to understand that God is never absent…. We are made for union with God, a process which begins with baptism where the great gift of sanctifying grace concurrently prepares our soul for the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity and which is meant to grow in intimacy and love by the increase of this grace throughout our lives.

Please call to mind that the gift of sanctifying grace includes the three theological God-directed virtues of faith, hope and love, along with the infused moral virtues and the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. This journey to greater intimacy with God is hindered by false loves and inordinate attachments.

I repeat, since this is a key point of the saint, you will grow in likeness to what you love. Consequently, when we set our affections on God, we are reformed more and more, through grace, into His image and likeness. Saint John of the Cross says: For there is no going forth from the pains and afflictions of the secret places of the desires until these be mortified and put to sleep.

And this, the soul says, was a happy chance for it — namely, its going forth without being observed: This process involves self-denial, detachment, prayer, growth in virtue and the readjustment of our affections.

Again, what you love is what you will become. Paul had the same type of zeal and determination for life displayed by Ignatius. No one worked harder, and suffered more, to advance the church. Is there anything in our lives that we potentially love more than God or prevent us from growing closer to God?

Is there anything in our lives that provides more security to us than God? Do we understand that the only retirement account of any value is Heaven? These disordered affections need to be uprooted, for they ultimately impede us from loving God and growing closer to Him.

Catholic Strength

This is what leaves it free and empty of all things, even though it possesses them. Carmel, Book One, Chapter 3. In short, this purification is comprehensive: John of the Cross provides some rather strong guidelines to accomplish this goal; see Book One, Chapter 13. How many amusements and trivial pursuits keep us from meditation, deep prayer and adoration, thus impeding our union with God? The beautiful senses God has given us should help us to grow in holiness.

In our electronic media society we often run the risk of getting entrapped in a world of sensory addiction that is almost a type of bondage. The remedy to this very real and serious problem involves the great Catholic spiritual principle of detachment, where we begin to control our desire for things that are stunting or limiting our true moral and spiritual development, eliminating anything which is immoral, and strictly limiting things which are harmful because they keep us away from other activities which are far more humanizing and God-directed.

In the order of the human being, God is the greatest good to which all other goods must be subordinated. Growth in prayer, in fact, is a fundamental antidote to despiritualization. Thus, the necessity for the active purification of the senses. Regarding this transition, Saint John of the Cross states: Consolations are good, but they are not meant to be an end in themselves. Spiritual persons suffer considerable affliction in this night, owing not so much to the aridities they undergo as to their fear of having gone astray….

The attitude necessary in this night of the senses is to pay no attention to discursive meditation since this is not the time for it. Through patience and perseverance in prayer, they will be doing a great deal without activity on their part….

  • It has been recorded that during his studies St;
  • Come, grant me thy fruition full and free!
  • At this depth he lives in both stable serenity and exalted activity;
  • The active purification of the spirit, of the understanding, memory and will, is discussed in great detail, and with great importance, in Books II and III of The Ascent of Mt.

They must be content simply with a loving and peaceful attentiveness to God, and live without the concern, without the effort, and without the desire to taste or feel him.

It might be beneficial to look at this passive night of the senses from the point of view of addition and subtraction.

St. John of the Cross

With the subtraction of sensible consolations in the lower faculties the sensual part of the soulcomes the addition of a dry, nascent, infused, mystical contemplation in the spiritual part of the soul — a contemplation perhaps not even fully perceived by the soul, but which will increase as the soul becomes more receptive to it.

In essence, the soul is being weaned of sensible consolations and called to a higher spiritual life of contemplative prayer through these special the influence of saint john of the cross in the catholic spirituality and inspirations of the Holy Spirit. If the soul perceives that the three signs mentioned above have been met, the soul can safely conclude that God is calling it to a deeper conversion marked by an experimental knowledge of God made present to the soul through an infused, loving contemplation Ref.

Another great benefit derived by the soul from this purgation of sense is a profound knowledge of self. John of the Cross points out: John of the Cross says: This diminished satisfaction with self, and the affliction it feels because it thinks that it is not serving God, God esteems more highly than all its former delights and all its good works.

John of the Cross] enlightens the soul, making it see not only its own misery and meanness. The night of the senses has turned out to be an extraordinary blessing, and the soul is now prepared for a deeper, more comprehensive purification in the night of the spirit, a purification where the soul will experience profound privations and desolation in the dark night of the valley of the shadow of death, in order to reach the ultimate goal of this journey in spiritual darkness — union with God, for which the purification of the senses was the necessary first stage.

We proceed, therefore, to the night of the spirit. Saint John wants us to thoroughly cleanse the faculties which sense, know, desire, understand, remember, imagine and will. In short, John of the Cross wants to completely clean house! And when our spiritual house has been set in order, and swept clean of all the encumbrances that so impede union with God, we will begin to walk by faith, hope and love the theological virtues.

The active purification of the spirit, of the understanding, memory and will, is discussed in great detail, and with great importance, in Books II and III of The Ascent of Mt.

Supernatural faith therefore purifies human understanding, and since memory is our storage facility for human knowledge, it too needs to be purified by supernatural hope; and since the will derives its affections from human intellectual perceptions it needs to be purified by supernatural charity.

Even if you were the beneficiary of a supernatural vision, you would still need to process it through your human intellectual faculties, which is, per se, an obstacle to union with God.

Saint John of the Cross states: Although Saint John of the cross spends a lot of time discussing the defects still present in proficients, one might summarize by saying that egoism and pride are deeply embedded in the human spirit.

This purgation or purification of the spirit, of the understanding, memory and will, is accomplished in the following manner: All these sensory means and exercises of the faculties must consequently be left behind and in silence, so that God himself may effect divine union in the soul.

As a result one has to follow the method of disencumbering, emptying, and depriving the faculties of their natural authority and operations to make room for the inflow and illumination of the supernatural. Concerning the purification of memory, Saint John of the Cross states: Muto in The Ascent, p.

And concerning the purification of the will, Saint John says this: For if in any way the will can comprehend God and be united with Him, it is through love….

Biblically, Saint Paul says in Ephesians 3: