John of the Cross

Also known as
Doctor of Mystical Theology

14 December; formerly 24 November

Born in poverty. Cared for the poor in the hospital in Medina. Lay Carmelite brother in 1563 at age 21, though he lived stricter than their Rule. Studied at Salamanca. Carmelite priest, ordained in 1567 at age 25. Persuaded by Saint Teresa of Avila to begin the Discalced or barefoot reform within the Carmelite Order, he took the name John of the Cross. Master of novices. Spiritual director and confessor at Saint Teresa's convent. His reforms did not set well with some of his brothers, and he was ordered to return to Medina. He refused, and was imprisoned at Toledo, Spain, escaping after nine months. Vicar-general of Andalusia. His reforms revitalized the Order. Great contemplative and spiritual writer. Proclaimed Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI on 24 August 1926.

24 June 1542 at Fontiveros, Spain

14 December 1591 at Ubeda, Andalusia, Spain; relics at Segovia

Name Meaning
God is gracious; gift of God

25 January 1675 by Pope Clement X

27 December 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII

contemplative life; contemplatives; mystical theology; mystics; Spanish poets

Additional Information
Google Directory: Saint John
Google Directory: Online Works
Catholic Biographies, by James Keifer
Vikipedio esperanto
Catholic Online
Mark Browning
Mysticism in World Religions
Carmelite Studies VI, by Steven Payne, OCD
John of the Cross: The Person, His Times, His Writings, by Michael Dodd, OCD
Metaphysics of Mysticism: A Commentary on the Mystical Philosophy of Saint John of the Cross, by Geoffrey K Mondello
Catholic Encyclopedia, by Benedict Zimmerman
For All The Saints, by Katherine Rabenstein
New Catholic Dictionary
How Is It God Loves Us?: A Homily for Saint John of the Cross, by John Sullivan, OCD
Ascent of Mount Carmel
Dark Night of the Soul
A Spiritual Canticle of the Soul and the Bridegroom Christ

español | français | deutsch | italiano | português

Never was fount so clear,
undimmed and bright;
From it alone, I know proceeds all light
although 'tis night.

Saint John of the Cross
Just as we can never separate asceticism from mysticism, so in Saint John of the Cross we find darkness and light, suffering and joy, sacrifice and love united together so closely that they seem at times to be identified.

Thomas Merton
If you do not learn to deny yourself, you can make no progress in perfection.

Saint John of the Cross
In detachment, the spirit finds quiet and repose for coveting nothing. Nothing wearies it by elation, and nothing oppresses it by dejection, because it stands in the center of its own humility.

Saint John of the Cross
The Lord measures our perfection neither by the multitude nor the magnitude of our deeds, but by the manner in which we perform them.

Saint John of the Cross
I wish I could persuade spiritual persons that the way of perfection does not consist in many devices, nor in much cogitation, but in denying themselves completely and yielding themselves to suffer everything for the love of Christ. And if there is failure in this exercise, all other methods of walking in the spiritual way are merely a beating about the bush, and profitless trifling, although a person should have very high contemplation and communication with God.

Saint John of the Cross
Live in the world as if only God and your soul were in it; then your heart will never be made captive by any earthly thing.

Saint John of the Cross
O you souls who wish to go on with so much safety and consolation, if you knew how pleasing to God is suffering, and how much it helps in acquiring other good things, you would never seek consolation in anything; but you would rather look upon it as a great happiness to bear the Cross of the Lord.

Saint John of the Cross
Though holy doctors have uncovered many mysteries and wonders, and devout souls have understood them in this earthly condition of ours, yet the greater part still remains to be unfolded by them, and even to be understood by them.

We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig, we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides.

For this reason the apostle Paul said of Christ, "In him are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God." The soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters the thicket of suffering, enduring interior and exterior labors, and unless it first receives from God very many blessings in the intellect and in the senses, and has undergone long spiritual training.

The gate that gives entry into these riches of his wisdom is the cross; because it is a narrow gate, while many seek the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire to pass through it.

from a spiritual canticle by Saint John of the Cross
In giving us His Son, His only Word, He spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word -- and He has no more to say...because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son.

Saint John of the Cross







John of the Cross

John of the Cross

©2008 Saintly Relics, Inc. ● NP