13 December 2012

St John of the Cross, 14 December

Del Verbo Divino
San Juan de la Cruz

Del Verbo divino
la Virgen preñada
viene de camino :
¡ si les dais posada !

Concerning the Divine Word
St John of the Cross

With the divinest Word, the Virgin
Made pregnant, down the road
Comes walking, if you'll grant her
A room in your abode 

Translation by Roy Campbell

A View of Toledo, El Greco, painted 1597-99 (Web Gallery of Art)

El Greco's landscape of Toledo depicts the Priory in which John was held captive, just below the old Muslim Alcazar and perched on the banks of the Tajo on high cliffs. (From Wikipedia).

From The Ascent of Mount Carmel by St John of the Cross
(Office of Readings, Advent Week 2, Monday)

When (God) gave us, as he did, his Son, who is his one Word, he spoke everything to us, once and for all in that one Word. There is nothing further for him to say.

Drawing of the Crucifixion, St John of the Cross

From the Spiritual Canticle of St John of the Cross
(Office of Readings, Feast of St John of the Cross, 14 December)

There are depths to be fathomed in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many recesses containing treasures, and no matter how men try to fathom them the end is never reached. Rather, in each recess, men keep on finding here and there new veins of new riches.

St John wrote much of the Spiritual Canticle while he was imprisoned by other Carmelite friars.

The Weaver, Vincent van Gogh, painted 1883-84 (Web Gallery of Art)

When John's father Gonzalo, who came from a family that wasn't poor, married Catalina, an orphan who was, he was rejected and forced by circumstances to work with his wife as a weaver. When Gonzalo died Catalina continued in that line of work.

The Carmelite Monastery in Ozamiz City, where I worked during my early years in the Philippines, employs weavers. St John of the Cross is the patron of the monastery. Please remember the nuns in your prayers.


Ruth Ann Pilney said...

As a Lay Carmelite, I appreciate your words about Saint John of the Cross. He is not easy to understand.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

Ruth Anne, you may be interested in this post on Remembering Fr William Doyle SJ: http://fatherdoyle.com/2012/12/14/thoughts-for-december-14-st-john-of-the-cross-from-fr-willie-doyle-2/

That is a very inspiring blog