Friday, December 14, 2007


HAPPY FEAST DAY!! Today is the memorial of the "Mystical Doctor": St. John of the Cross. He was a Discalced Carmelite who assisted St. Teresa of Avila in her reforms of the Order. He is a great saint known most for his writing about the spiritual life, especially about the "dark night of the soul", which in my opinion is completely misunderstood by many.

You can find his major works
. I think an excellent book that speaks of his teaching as a way of an introduction is Father Dubay's Fire Within, which also treats St. Teresa of Avila's teaching.

He is considered one of the greatest Spanish poets of all time. Here is his Living Flame of Love:

1. O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now consummate! if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

2. O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
that tastes of eternal life
and pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life.

3. O lamps of fire!
in whose splendors
the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind,
now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
both warmth and light to their Beloved.

4. How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.

I found where they have this particular poem and commentary. The Rodriguez and Kavanaugh translation. Check it out!

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