Words From St. John of the Cross

| | Comments (7)

Whether one is attached to earth by a silken thread or a golden cable, the result is the same: one cannot soar to the heights.

From "Sayings of Light and Love"

I'm beginning to understand what my friend meant when he said, "It takes guts to be a Carmelite." And I always thought it took heart!

Bookmark and Share


It DOES take guts to be a Carmelite. (Or at least a masochistic streak. *grin*) I used to think the Carmelite order was really sweet and pietistic and just generally harmless (this was before I knew anything of them other than a very weak knowledge of St. Teresa of Lisieux). Now I have the opposite impression - they, you, are WARRIORS. I recall Kathy Swistock saying she sometimes doubted her calling to be a Carmelite, and I wished she "said more" or that I'd asked her why.

Dear TSO,

Wow! You said a mouthful and a powerful mouthful at that. Being a near-pacifist it comes as a tremendous shock to be referred to as a Warrior, and yet, I recognize on some deep level that you speak the absolute truth and it is in this war that I will willingly engage and do all that is asked. Thank you.

I know everyone is called to spiritual combat and warfare, but I haven't thought clearly in those terms before. Thank you. This is something to bring to the next long bout of prayer. It is tryly inspirational.

And to anyone else who reads, please don't hesitate to comment. I don't know that you can realize how very valuable and powerful a positive, encouraging, seemingly offhand statement can be to me and to others.

God bless you TSO for the joy you have given me today.



"Whether one is attached to earth by a silken thread or a golden cable, the result is the same: one cannot soar to the heights."

St. John of the Cross is wrong on this one. One is attached to earth by a bungee cord, soaring at times to the mountaintops, but, alas, back down into the valley again. We really wouldn't be much use to Him, would we, if we were always in a state of ecstasy.

Dear Psalm 41,

I think you need context to understand what St. John of the Cross is refering to. He is talking about living in the Spiritual Marriage of Divine Union which is NOT a constant ecstatic state, but it is the "soaring" to which he refers. Once we have been invited into this Divine intimacy it is not a thing that comes and goes, but it is a constant state, regardless of our own moods or exterior expressions.

So what he is saying is that if one wishes to achieve divine union, there can be no attachment, no matter how fine or good that we can allow to stand in the way.

I tend to think he is right in this. Or at least, considering his relative knowledge and mine, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. :-D





As always, thank you for your comments. Your wisdom always enlightens me. I often feel as though I'm on a bungee cord, jumping from selfish embitterment of soul to desiring nothing but God. David echos me so well in Psalm 72:21-26 (or 73). Wouldn't it be just simply divine to hear St. Bonaventure and St. John of the Cross discuss Divine Union? A Franciscan and a Carmelite.

Dear Psalm 41,

Fortunately, that bungee cord you describe is a shared experience. I can't think of very many people who don't experience it to some degree, and I know I am foremost among them. But, when the silken thread or golden cable that anchors that cord is gradually worn away, we will eventually, in this life of the next, be removed from the up-and-down ride and released from the cares of the world so that we are constantly in orbit. We shall spend our heavens doing good on Earth. My desire, which is not yet strong enough, is that I should do so while still living. It is possible through God's grace. And it is simple; however, it is not easy.



I may have mentioned this before, but there's a great bit by William Hinnebusch, OP, in I believe Dominican [sic] Spirituality, that I will paraphrase thusly: "People think St. Therese's life was all sweetness and roses. They do not know the Carmelite Rule."



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 9, 2006 9:12 PM.

Random Thought on Mortification was the previous entry in this blog.

Twice in Two Days. . . is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll