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Saturday, 26 September 2015

Saint John of the Cross

John of the Cross (1542– 1591) was a Carmelite priest, who along with Teresa de Ávila was active in the reform of the Carmelite order. Imprisoned  for several months by some unreformed monks. John spent a difficult time, locked away in a narrow, windowless cell, with a ceiling so low he was unable to stand up. He remained in his stifling, stone cell for close to 24 hours a day during which he was barely fed and received a weekly public lashing.

However, John came to the realization that in his present state things were made easier because the enforced solitude was making contemplation almost necessary. In his cell he wrote some remarkable mystical poetry such as Cántico Espiritual (The Spiritual Canticle), a mystical love poem between a soul, representing John of the Cross and Christ, the Bridegroom, and La Noche Oscura del Alma (Dark Night of the Soul), which told of his search for holiness during this dark period of his own life.

John was canonized as a saint in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. He is one of the thirty-six Doctors of the Church.

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