THURSDAY THE FOURTEENTH OF DECEMBER 2017
* John of the Cross *
Awaken and enlighten us, my Lord, that we might know and love the blessings which you ever propose to us, and that we might understand that you have moved to bestow favours on us and have remembered us. Amen.
( John of the Cross )
The Living Flame Of Love
( Songs of the soul in the
of loving union with God )
O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest centre! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now consummate, if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!
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.
O lamps of fire!
in whose splendours
the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind,
now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
both warmth and light to their Beloved.
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.
( John of the Cross )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
John of the Cross: facing the dark night of the soul
John of the Cross was a Carmelite monk. You should know this about the Carmelites: they were started in the Holy Land, in that brief window of time when the Crusaders occupied it in the twelfth century. Mount Carmel was the site where Elijah the prophet hung out, in "Old Testament" times, together with the company of prophets mentioned in the "Bible." The Carmelite Order wanted to combine that prophetic/mystical tradition with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
By the sixteenth century the Carmelites were no longer in the Holy Land, but they had spread throughout Europe, with a large group in Spain. The Carmelites were in a period of decadence, as was much of the church in the sixteenth century. The Protestant Reformation was in its early stages, and many monastics were calling for a renewal of their religious orders.
John of the Cross was among those calling for reform. He had been born near Avila, Spain, in 1542. He was skilled in practical matters like carpentry, tailoring, sculpting, and painting. John entered the Carmelite Order and became a priest in 1567. Together with Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite nun, he set about reforming his religious community. His plans met with great resistance and he wound up breaking off with his Carmelite roots and started a group known as the discalced Carmelites who went without shoes and observed a very strict interpretation of Carmelite spirituality.
He was a man of holiness, and was a spiritual director to many people. He led others on their search for God. Some of his spiritual writing included "The Spiritual Canticle," "The Ascent of Mount Carmel," "The Living Flame of Love" and "The Dark Night." It was from the last book that we learned to speak about “the dark night of the soul, the spiritual crises a person faces on their journey toward God. After a severe illness, John died on the fourteenth of December, 1591.
Scripture: In the "Song of Songs," chapter three, verses one to three, we find these words:
Upon my bed at night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.
"I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves."
I sought him, but found him not.
The sentinels found me, as they went about in the city.
"Have you seen him whom my soul loves?"
... for peace in the world.
... that our faith may persist even in the darkest moments of our life; that we may trust in God even when it feels as if he has abandoned us.
... for those living with haemophilia and for the success of those searching to find a cure for the illness.
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... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
From "The Ascent of Mount Carmel" by Johan of the Cross:
To reach satisfaction in all
desire its possession in nothing.
To come to possession in all
desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at being all
desire to be nothing.
To come to the knowledge of all
desire the knowledge of nothing.
To come to the pleasure you have not
you must go by the way in which you enjoy not.
To come to the knowledge you have not
you must go by the way in which you know not.
To come to the possession you have not
you must go by the way in which you possess not.
To come by the what you are not
you must go by a way in which you are not.
When you turn toward something
you cease to cast yourself upon the all.
For to go from all to the all
you must deny yourself of all in all.
And when you come to the possession of the all
you must possess it without wanting anything.
Because if you desire to have something in all
your treasure in God is not purely your all.
Judge eternal, throned in splendour, you gave John of the Cross strength of purpose and mystical faith that sustained him even through the dark night of the soul: shed your light on all who love you, in unity with Jesus Christ our saviour; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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