General Audience of Pope Benedict XVI on St. John of the Cross:
Sunday is not a day of fasting, but of feasting. So, the focus every Sunday is to feast with my family, to truly make Sundays a day of rest; which means to refrain from the internet and other technology as much as I can. I'm going to be putting up the previous Wednesday's general audience with Pope Benedict XVI, and I encourage you to read and to study.
What are you reading today? What are you talking about this morning?
Saint John of the Cross
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In today’s catechesis, we discuss the sixteenth-century Spanish Carmelite mystic, Saint John of the Cross. John was born into a poor family. As a young man he entered the Carmelites and was ordained priest. Soon afterwards, he met Teresa of Avila in what was a decisive encounter for them both, as they discerned plans for reforming the Carmelite Order. He became confessor at Teresa’s monastery, and together they developed a rich articulation of the workings of the Lord upon the soul in the spiritual life. Despite persecution and misunderstanding from within his own Order, John produced some of the most illuminating and insightful treatises in all of Western spirituality. His four major writings are The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night of the Soul, The Spiritual Canticle, and The Living Flame of Love. One of the themes much developed by John was that of the purification of the soul: by means of created things, we can discover traces of the living God in this world. Faith, however, is the unique means by which we can come to know God as he is in himself. The demanding process of purification, at times active and at others passive, requires our determined effort, but it is God who is the real centre; all man can do is dispose himself and humble himself before the loving work of God in the soul. In this sense, John is for us a model of humble dedication and of faithful perseverance on the road to spiritual maturity.
St. John of the Cross, we ask for your prayers as we persevere in our faith, though we may be tempted to doubt God and His sovereignty in our lives. Pray for us this day, that we may be humble enough to say to God, "Thy Will be done". Amen.