Friday, December 13, 2013

St John of the Cross

Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you....I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them (St John 17:25-26)

O flame of the Holy Spirit that so intimately and tenderly pierces the substance of my soul and cauterizes it with Your glorious ardor! Previously, my requests did not reach Your ears, when, in the anxieties and weariness of love in which my sense and my spirit suffered because of considerable weakness, impurity, and lack of strong love, I was praying that You loose me and bring me to Yourself, because my soul longed for you, and impatient love did not allow me to be so confirmed to the conditions of this life in which You desired me still to live. The previous impulses of love were not enough, because they did not have sufficient quality for the attainment of my desire; now I am so fortified in love that not only do my sense and spirit no longer faint in You, but my heart and my flesh, reinforced in You, rejoice in the living God (Ps 83:3), with great conformity between the sensory and spiritual parts. What You desire me to ask for, I ask for, and what You do not desire, I do not desire, nor can I, nor does it even enter my mind to desire it. My petitions are now more valuable and estimable in Your sight, since they come from You, and You move me to make them, and I make them in the delight and joy of the Holy Spirit, my judgment now issuing from Your countenance (Ps 16:2), that is, when You esteem and hear my prayer. Tear then the thin veil of this life and do not let old age cut it naturally, that from now on I may love You with plenitude and fullness my soul desires forever and ever. (The Living Flame of Love, 1:36)

Toledo by El Greco. The view similar to that St John might see from the window of his cell while imprisoned in the Carmelite Monastery, Toledo. The main picture of St John is by Zurbaran