14/12 Saint John of the Cross

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Yesterday’s readings could not have been bettered for today’s Saint, John of Cross. Like his namesake, the Baptist, he suffered imprisonment unjustly. We have witnessed, in our own day, the emotions aroused by change in the Church, in the Catholic, Anglican, or any other branch; we have witnessed resistance to the ministry of women who perceive that the skills and talents given to them and honed by diligent study and training, should be deployed where new needs and opportunities arise.

Welcome to the world of John of the Cross.

This collaborator of St Teresa of Avila  worked to revive the apostolic poverty that had been a mark of the Carmelites, but had been lost awhile as convents became luxurious homes for rich unmarried women. John and Teresa perceived that – of course – there were challenges for the brothers of the order as well if they were to be true to their calling, and – of course – they knew that prophets would be rejected in their own communities.

John may have been dismayed and suffered the dark night of his soul, but he escaped his cell and returned to his work.

These lines, written in prison on smuggled paper, link him to Dylan Thomas in trusting the dark:

Oh, night that guided me,

Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,

Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,

Lover transformed in the Beloved!

Let us pray that we may trust the Beloved to guide us all through the night, till the angel faces smile upon us.


More posts about Saint Teresa.

Like Little Children, 15th October 2015

Whose Angel Faces Smile? 16th October 2015

Therese, her Parents and Other Saints, 17th October 2015

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