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St John Of The Cross Doctor Of Divine Love And Contemplation Pdf

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His prose works display a remarkably wise understanding of various extremely subtle nuances of psychological and spiritual development. His father was a wealthy silk merchant, his mother a poor weaver girl.

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Saint John of the Cross

Printable pdf Version of this Study Saint John of the Cross is probably the most distinguished of all the Christian mystics. So Juan John knew from his earliest years the hardships of life. The widow, assisted by her eldest son, was scarcely able to provide the bare necessities. So John learned the importance of self-sacrificing love from his parents. After his father died, his mother kept the destitute family together as they wandered homeless in search of work.

These were the examples of sac-rifice that John followed with his own great love — God. When the family finally found work, John still went hungry in the middle of the wealthiest city in Spain.

He was sent to the poor school at Medina, where his family lived, and proved to be an attentive and diligent student.

It was out of this poverty and suffering, that John learned to search for beauty and happiness not in the world, but in God. He was sent to Salamanca for higher studies, and was ordained a priest in Carmelites placed special emphasis on the contemplative life — this order was originally founded in by Berthold on Mt.

Carmel in Palestine. But John, shrinking back from the responsibilities of the priesthood, determined to join the Carthusians instead — this was an order of contemplative monks who lived a rigorous and austere life, and who devoted themselves to several hours of prayer every day. Before taking the step, however, John made the acquaintance of St. In the s in Europe the period of the Reformation discipline among the monks and nuns had deteriorated, and St. Teresa resolved to revive the old rule and follow the contemplative life.

This movement became known as the Discalcid. Teresa did not think anyone could bear the discomforts of the little dilapidated hovel. He was joined by two companions and together they inaugurated the reform among the friars.

John of the Cross, as he now called himself, became the first master of novices. He filled various posts in different places until St. Teresa called him to Avila as director and confessor of the Convent of the Incarnation, and remained there for about five years Saint John was ordered by his provincial superior to return to the house of his profession in Medina, but he refused to do so, owing to the fact that he held his office from the Apostolic delegate his immediate superior.

He was taken prisoner in , and carried off to the Carmelite house in Toledo, where he suffered hellish imprisonment for more than nine months. The sixteenth century friars locked St. John in a lice-infested cell six feet by ten feet — it was so cold during the winter that the skin of his toes came off from frostbite… he slept on boards on the floor… he suffered dysentery from the stale scraps of sardines and bread… and had to endure vomit-inducing stench due to the fact that his hateful jailer would only change his waste bucket after several days.

Not the least was the constant humiliation and frequent torture from fellow friars, who took him out a few times each week into the rectory at mealtimes, where he was made to kneel like a dog and endure much verbal scorn and bodily flogging. The period was particularly hard on him because his own great humility made him begin to seriously doubt himself; perhaps he was only a stubborn rebel, sinfully proud in helping Teresa.

Such thinking only increased his anguished sense of isolation. Obviously, these strict religionists thought they were doing right, but they were simply doing the destructive work of the devil. All of us as believers experience the diabolical nature of our flesh when we fail to walk according to the Spirit. There was only one tiny window high up near the ceiling of St. In the midst of his sufferings in prison and this Dark Night of the Soul St.

John is the one who apparently coined the phrase , where he was stripped of all material and social consolations, he was visited with heavenly consolations and composed many of his poems for which, later on, he wrote commentaries for his celebrated spiritual masterpieces. Poetry for John was not an art-form but a vehicle to express his love for his personal Lord, and the blazing power of the Holy Spirit, which had stoked a profound fire in him, overcoming the interior and exterior darkness of his dire situation.

After nine months of imprisonment, Saint John escaped by unscrewing the lock on his door and creeping past the guard. Taking only the mystical poetry he had written with him, he climbed out a window using a rope made of strips of blankets. He hid from pursuers in a convent infirmary where he read his poetry to the nuns. He was rector of the college at Baeza In , at the age of 39, he went to Granada and became acquainted with the Arabian mystics. Writing out of personal experience and as a student of Scripture and Thomism the writings of St.

After the death of St. John supported the former and shared his fate. John resisted supporting the nuns in their endeavor , and drew upon himself the displeasure of his superior, who deprived him of his offices and relegated him to one of the poorest monasteries, where he became seriously ill.

But at last even his adversaries came to acknow-ledge his sanctity, and his funeral was the occasion of a great outburst of enthusiasm. John bore all his trials as a saint and died in in Ubeda at the age of Though St. Thomas Aquinas, as almost every page of his works proves.

When we compare the amount of information available about the person of St. In this John is incom-parable. What kind of man was this St. John who is so seldom understood? Disclaiming holiness in himself, St. During and after his nine months of dark solitude and torture, he never uttered a single complaint and bore no resentment toward his captors. Writer and critic, E. Allison Peers, who translated St.

The dire poverty of the nuns at the Incarnation Convent while he was their confessor, so touched his heart that he went out to beg alms for them, and he made a point of seeking delicacies for the ill. When his own friars were sick, John would give them exquisite care. He would rise at night to check on the welfare of an ill confrere even when another friar had volunteered or been appointed to watch at the bedside.

He is indeed the father of my soul…. People look upon him as a saint, which, in my opinion he is and has been all his life. John so loved nature that Allison Peers, called it his dominant interest on the natural plane. It is said of him that he would be found in his cell with elbows on the windowsill, gazing in absorbed prayer, upon the flowers during the day or the stars at night.

He had an exceptionally affirmative, optimistic vision of both the human person and the divine plan. He always invites the reader to an entire enthrallment, an abiding joy beyond imagining. John did not speak much to large groups of people, he had a wonderful gift of relating to individuals and small groups.

His charism, together with his uncommon grasp of the interior life, readily explains his popularity as a spiritual director. On the natural level it appears that John's greatest talent was his poetic genius. The Spanish scholars are agreed that he is probably the greatest poet in the Spanish language. Allison Peers notes the saint's extraordinary achievement of attaining to "the very highest rank of European poets.

John was also a poet in his prose, and the very abundance of his talent in this respect throws into sharper relief the austerity of his doctrine. The sum total of his merits as a writer of prose, of which its poetical quality is of course only one, constitutes a very remarkable achievement.

Up to John's time there had, in fact, been very little mystical prose at all, and that little had mainly been concerned with one aspect of mystical experience — the Prayer of Quiet. Hence St. It is now passive, but not inert or deficient in commitment, for by submitting to the Divine operation it co-operates in the measure of its power.

As the soul emerges from the Dark Night it enters into the full noonlight described in the " Spiritual Canticle " and the " Living Flame of Love. John leads it to the highest heights, where it becomes a "partaker of the Divine Nature". He communicated his spirituality essentially by word of mouth and it was only written down as a result of persistent requests. The central theme of his teaching, which has made him renowned both within and outside the Catholic Church, concerned the union of man with God through the grace of Jesus Christ.

He described a spiritual journey from the very beginning up to the most sublime level, which consists of the stages of the purgative purging way, the illuminative way and the way that produces union — in other words, the stages for beginners, for the proficient, and for those who are close to perfection true maturity.

As St. John said, in order to arrive at the All which is God, it is necessary that man should give all of himself, not like a slave but inspired by love. John of the Cross is known throughout the Christian world as being one of the leading teachers of Christian contemplation or Christian mysticism. To such a person, it is not an alien, strange, ethereal experience, but simply a deep, inner conviction of the truth that God has poured into his soul.

Jn , 26; ; ; Acts ; 1 Cor Acts ; 1 Jn Does that mean that God cannot mystically communicate in some way to the heart of an indi-vidual? No, not at all.

God is GOD, and it is His divine prerogative to do as He so chooses… but such communication [admittedly] is clearly not the norm which could be due in part to the fact that few Christians diligently seek God through genuine periods of solitude and reflection.

We have a tendency to do this politically, culturally and theologically. In the Christian tradition a spiritual experience is a phenomenon that in some sense remains understandably controversial. Mt From my perspective, the reason most believers reject mystical experiences is due in large part to a mis-understanding of the very nature of a genuine Christian spiritual experience. Jer ; Deut Jn ; Acts , and affirm them as indeed being true cf.

Jer … be it through the spoken word, the written word, or by meditating upon biblical truths we have already learned. The Holy Spirit can build upon the thoughts and teachings that fill our hearts and minds, or He can even instill completely new thoughts in us. Ps ; Phil ; Col

Saint John Of The Cross 1542-1591, Doctor Of Divine Love

He is a major figure of the Counter-Reformation in Spain, and he is one of the thirty-six Doctors of the Church. John of the Cross is known especially for his writings. Both his poetry and his studies on the development of the soul are considered the summit of mystical Spanish literature and among the greatest works of all Spanish literature. He is regarded as the "Mystical Doctor" by the Church. In Gonzalo married John's mother, Catalina, who was an orphan of a lower class; he was rejected by his family and forced to work with his wife as a weaver. In Medina, John entered a school for [12] poor children, mostly orphans, to receive a basic education, mainly in Christian doctrine.

The Aim of Contemplative Meditation, According to St. John of the Cross

There are so many mistaken notions about St. John of the Cross that we might do well to clarify some of them at the outset. He is, of course, most identified with the phrase dark night of the soul, but in fact he never uses the term. John does speak of the dark night of the senses and the dark night of the spirit in his treatise titled simply The Dark Night.

Tuesday, July 13, Wednesday, July 13, Thursday, July 13, Born in Spain in , John learned the importance of self-sacrificing love from his parents. His father gave up wealth, status, and comfort when he married a weaver's daughter and was disowned by his noble family.

Printable pdf Version of this Study Saint John of the Cross is probably the most distinguished of all the Christian mystics. So Juan John knew from his earliest years the hardships of life. The widow, assisted by her eldest son, was scarcely able to provide the bare necessities.

Poetry of St John of the Cross

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In the atmosphere of fervor created by the generous practice of mortification, the soul that desires to attain contemplative union with God has to practice meditation — that is to say, mental prayer. This meditation, according to the teaching of St. John of the Cross, has as its aim to nourish in the soul a determination for abnegation. To teach us to enter on the way of total spoliation that will lead our souls to union with God, he has recommended that we rouse and develop within ourselves a great desire to imitate Christ, the model of perfect abnegation, and to reflect on His life so as to learn from Him how we ought to act. Inspired with love for Christ in affectionate meditation, the soul feels spontaneously impelled to want to live as He did. This purpose of meditation as proposed by St. John of the Cross is a most important one.

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John of the Cross


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Full text of "Saint John of the Cross, , doctor of divine love of the Beginning," " the contemplation of Divine Truth," as St. Thomas Aquinas defines the Exaltation of the Cross until Easter, perpetual abstinence, manual labour, and.

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