Saint John of the Cross
- He was born in 1542 in Fontiveros, Spain in poverty. During his youth, he cared for
the poor in the hospital in Medina. He became a lay Carmelite brother at 21, there he
practice penance and was admired by his superiors who sent him to study at Salamanca.
- After he was ordained a Priest, he learned much from St Teresa of Avila who
persuaded him to begin the Discalced or barefoot reform within the Carmelite Order, he
then took the name John of the Cross.
- His reforms were too strict and not fully accepted by his brothers at first,
because of this he was imprisoned, but escaped after 9 months.
- He was a great contemplative and spiritual writer. Doctor of the Church. He died in
1591 in Ubeda
- "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."
From a spiritual canticle by 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
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.
Work of God Apostolate
Saint John of the