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  A Christian Faith Magazine December 2002, Volume 8, Issue 5  
Image to come Saint of the Month - John of the Cross
December 14
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St. John of the Cross
St. John of the Cross

So powerfully did Saint John of the Cross support the attempts made by Saint Teresa of Avila to reform the Carmelite monasteries of Spain that the general of the Carmelites had him imprisoned in 1577 and again in 1578.

In intense poems and his other mystical writings, John of the Cross set out the schema of a Christian's mystical ascent to God. In his greatest work, The Dark Night of the Soul, the saint describes how a mystic loses' every earthly attachment, passing through a personal experience of Jesus's crucifixion to a rhapsodic union with God's glory. To pass through this darkness is, he says, 'a fortunate adventure to union with the Beloved'.

For a time Saint John of the Cross was reconciled to the general of his order. He became vicar provincial of Andalusia and a prior at Segovia. But when disputes broke out once again among the Spanish Carmelites, Saint John of the Cross withdrew to complete solitude.

From A Calendar of Saints -
The Lives of the Principal Saints of the Christian Year

'"Now woe is me,"
cried the shepherd lad,
"A loved one's absence is my torment here..."
He waited long;
then to a Tree above Mounted.
His feet and yearning arms he spread
And from his outstretched arms
he now hangs dead;
His sad heart wounded
mortally with love.'

- Poem on the crucifixion
by St. John of the Cross


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