Friday, December 14, 2012

St John of the Cross Feast Day

Where there is no love, bring love.

John accepted all this without complaint. In July of that year, he had written to Mother Mary of the Incarnation, Prioress of the Segovia convent, who was distressed at the treatment he was receiving: '....do not let what is happening to me, my daughter, cause you any grief, for it does not cause me any....Men do not do these things, but God, who knows what is suitable for us and arranges things for our good. Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love...' Even more now, when he was being treated with such little love, he responded only with love and forgiveness. 'At the evening of life' , said John of the Cross, 'we will be judged by love.' John was approaching the evening of his life. Love was his response to everything. He refused to say an ill word of those who hated him. He received letters telling him of Fr Diego's campaign against him, which were kept in a bag at the bottom of his bed. He ordered them to be burnt, so that they would not damage the Order after his death. He had no word of complaint of his treatment, seeing everything as a permitted by God for his good. Perhaps alluding to the nun's concerns about Doria's governance, but surely applicable to his own situation, he wrote to Mother Anne of St Albert, 'you already know, daughter, the trials they are now suffering. God permits it to try his elect. In silence and in hope shall our strength be.'
'Have a great love for those who contradict and fail to love you,' he wrote to another nun, 'for in this way love is begotten in a heart that has no love. God so acts with us, for He loves us that we might love by means of the very love He bears toward us.' It worked, because at John's deathbed, the Prior knelt in tears and asked his forgiveness.