Saints of WYD 2011: St. John of the Cross
“When there is no love, pour love in and you will draw love out.”
“O you souls who wish to go on with so much safety and consolation, if you knew how pleasing to God is suffering, and how much it helps in acquiring other good things, you would never seek consolation in anything; but you would rather look upon it as a great happiness to bear the Cross of the Lord.”
With what procrastinations do you wait, since from this very moment you can love God in your heart?”
The list of amazing quotes from St. John of the Cross could go on and on. St. John of the Cross is a giant of a saint, and also one of the most diminutive ones. Standing at a little under 5ft, he helped found and reform the male branch of the Carmelites and was a spiritual director of St. Teresa of Avila. He is also considered one of the master’s of mystical theology. Much of our modern understanding of prayer and spirituality was influenced by St. John. He lived out his life seeking and meditating upon God’s great love, writing about it, and guiding many souls into a deeper relationship with Christ. And, St. John got suffering. I mean, he really understood it in a mystical sense that only comes with great wisdom and nearness to God. The phrase “dark night of the soul” comes from St. John of the Cross’s period of intense suffering and the lack of feeling and emotion towards God’s presence… to say this more clearly, He lived out Jesus’s cry from the cross: “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” Now, God did not abandon Jesus, but in Jesus’ deepest moment of suffering He truly did not FEEL God’s presence. Remember, simply because one does not FEEL God’s presence, does not mean that God isn’t present. John understood that as one strives for unity with Christ, often God will remove the wonderful feeling of His presence so as to be strengthened and fortified… to believe without feeling so to speak. And John saw this as a blessing, for in it He learned to rely more deeply on Christ for everything, and was willing to sacrifice everything out of love for Christ. That is how deeply in love John was with Christ, and he knew God’s love for him was even deeper. John truly saw God as the great lover of His soul.