♫Latest Podcast Ep.

December 14 - John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross
December 14

Just as it is difficult for us to describe to others places that they have never experienced, so too was it difficult for Mystics like John of the Cross to explain spiritual experiences. One way he would do this was through poetry. But even though he was a Saint, John did not have an easy life. Of his most popular poems was one called "The Dark Night of the Soul" which speaks about the feeling of abandonment by God.

The Dark Night

            One dark night,
              fired with love's urgent longings
              - ah, the sheer grace! -
              I went out unseen,
              my house being now all stilled.

            In darkness, and secure,
              by the secret ladder, disguised,
              - ah, the sheer grace! -
              in darkness and concealment,
              my house being now all stilled.

            On that glad night
              in secret, for no one saw me,
              nor did I look at anything
              with no other light or guide
              than the One that burned in my heart.

            This guided me
              more surely than the light of noon
              to where he was awaiting me
              - him I knew so well -
              there in a place where no one appeared.

            O guiding night!
              O night more lovely than the dawn!
              O night that has united
              the Lover with his beloved,
              transforming the Beloved into his Lover.

            Upon my flowering breast,
              which I kept wholly for him alone,
              there he lay sleeping,
              and I caressing him
              there in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

            When the breeze blew from the turret,
              as I parted his hair,
              it wounded my neck
              with its gentle hand,
              suspending all my senses.

            I abandoned and forgot myself,
              laying my face on my Beloved;
              all things ceased; I went out from myself,
              leaving my cares
              forgotten among the lilies.