St. John of the Cross, redux


The ICS translation with additional information:

from The Ascent of Mount Carmel Book I Chapter 13 St. John of the Cross

2. Though these counsels for the conquering of the appetites are brief and few in number, I believe they are as profitable and efficacious as they are concise. A person who sincerely wants to practice them will need no others since all the others are included in these.

3. First, have habitual desire to imitate Christ in all your deeds by bringing your life into conformity with his. You must then study his life in order to know how to imitate him and behave in all events as he would.

4. Second, in order to be successful in the imitation, renounce and remain empty of any sensory satisfaction that is not purely for the honor and glory of God. Do this out of love for Jesus Christ. In his life he had no other gratification, nor desire any other, than the fulfillment of his Father's will, which he called his meat and food [Jn. 4:34].

For example, if you are offered the satisfaction of hearing that that have no relation to the service and glory of God, do not desire the pleasure of the hearing of these things. When you have an opportunity for the gratification of looking upon objects that will not help you love God more, do not desire this gratification or sight. And if in speaking there is a similar opportunity, act in the same way. And so on with all the sense insofar as you can duly avoid such satisfaction. If you cannot escape the experience of this satisfaction, it will be sufficient to have o desire for it.

By this method you should endeavor, then, to leave the senses as though in darkness, mortified and empty of that satisfaction. With such vigilance you will gain a great deal in a short time.

5. Many blessings flow when the four natural passions (joy, hope, fear, and sorrow) are in harmony and at peace. The following maxims contain a complete method for mortifying and pacifying them. If put into practice these maxims will give rise to abundant merit and great virtues.

6. Endeavor to be inclined always:
not to the easiest, but to the most difficult;
not to the most delightful, but to the most distasteful;
not to the most gratifying, but to the less pleasant;
not to what means rest for you, but to hear work;
not to the consoling, but to he unconsoling;
not to the most, but to the least;
not to the highest and most precious, but to the lowest and most despised;
not to wanting something, but to wanting nothing.

Do not go about looking for the best of temporal things, but for the worst, and, for Christ, desire to enter into complete nakedness, emptiness, and poverty in everything in the world.

7. You should embrace these practices earnestly and try to overcome the repugnance of your will toward them. If you sincerely put them into practice with order and discretion, you will discover in them great delight and consolation.

Tr. by Kiernan Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez

I repeat these in the clearer translation for fear that I may have misrepresented both St. John and His teaching in the post below where I have excerpted his work. Tom asked a question that led me to believe that I must have made untoward claims for what is said here, so I'm trying to quote enough to let the passage speak clearly for itself without unduly wearying the reader.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 1, 2003 5:32 PM.

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