Blog Post - December 14th
S. John of the Cross| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
St. John of the Cross
John is a saint because his life was a heroic effort to live up to his name: “of the Cross.” The folly of the cross came to full realization in time. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34b) is the story of John’s life. The Paschal Mystery—through death to life—strongly marks John as reformer, mystic-poet and theologian-priest.
Ordained a Carmelite priest at 25 (1567), John met Teresa of Jesus (October 15) and like her vowed himself to the primitive Rule of the Carmelites. As partner with Teresa and in his own right, John engaged in the work of reform, and came to experience the price of reform: increasing opposition, misunderstanding, persecution, imprisonment. He came to know the cross acutely—to experience the dying of Jesus—as he sat month after month in his dark, damp, narrow cell with only his God!
Yet, the paradox! In this dying of imprisonment John came to life, uttering poetry. In the darkness of the dungeon, John’s spirit came into the Light. There are many mystics, many poets; John is unique as mystic-poet, expressing in his prison-cross the ecstasy of mystical union with God in the Spiritual Canticle.
But as agony leads to ecstasy, so John had his Ascent to Mt. Carmel, as he named it in his prose masterpiece. As man-Christian-Carmelite, he experienced in himself this purifying ascent; as spiritual director, he sensed it in others; as psychologist-theologian, he described and analyzed it in his prose writings. His prose works are outstanding in underscoring the cost of discipleship, the path of union with God: rigorous discipline, abandonment, purification. Uniquely and strongly John underlines the gospel paradox: The cross leads to resurrection, agony to ecstasy, darkness to light, abandonment to possession, denial to self to union with God. If you want to save your life, you must lose it. John is truly “of the Cross.” He died at 49—a life short, but full.
John in his life and writings has a crucial word for us today. We tend to be rich, soft, comfortable. We shrink even from words like self-denial, mortification, purification, asceticism, discipline. We run from the cross. John’s message—like the gospel—is loud and clear: Don’t—if you really want to live!
Thomas Merton said of John: "Just as we can never separate asceticism from mysticism, so in St. 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."
In John's words:
"Never was fount so clear,
undimmed and bright;
From it alone, I know proceeds
all light although 'tis night."
Patron Saint of:
Reward of Discipleship:
The call of Jesus to faith and discipleship is never a "comfortable" calling, but it is one that, when accepted, brings peace and the knowledge of God's tender love and mercy.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
It is the Lord's infinite mercy that bestows everything because He forgives everything.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Six: 327-365
We enter, now, the last of the six notebooks that Saint Faustina filled with revelations from our Lord about His unfathomable and perfect Mercy. At this point, the Message of Mercy should be clear and evoking of a deep trust in the incomprehensible love of God. All that has been shared to this point reveals that God is relentless in His pursuit of you, seeking only to love you unconditionally and to draw you into His glorious life for all eternity.
The greatest obstacle to this call to holiness is sin. But it is abundantly clear that sin is no match for the Mercy of God. His Mercy dispels your sin in an instant, disposing of your past errors forever. God’s only desire is the present moment, for in this present moment He comes to you, descending from the heights of Heaven, entering into the inner core of your soul so as to form a perfect communion with you, lifting you up to share in His divine life.
This final notebook will be reflected upon as a summary of all that has been reflected upon thus far. Just like the reflections on the first notebook, the reflections for this notebook will be short and to the point. Once you finish this chapter you are invited to return to it often as a way of quickly and easily reminding yourself of the abundant Mercy of God. The Lord’s love is perfect in every way. Allow Him to speak this truth to you with clarity and conviction.
Reflection 348: God Fulfills what He Reveals
It’s amazing to consider two facts side by side. First, consider that Saint Faustina heard Jesus tell her, over and over, that He desired that the Feast of Divine Mercy be promulgated and celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter every year. How was this lowly cloistered nun to accomplish such a task for the universal Church? Second, when St. John Paul II canonized Saint Faustina on Divine Mercy Sunday, 2000, our Holy Father promulgated that the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday was to become a universal feast of the Church. God spoke this to the heart of Saint Faustina in silence and solitude over and over from 1931-1938. Just over sixty years later, it came to be (See Diary #1680).
Reflect upon the fact that God often calls you to do far more than you could ever imagine doing on your own. If you are attentive to His clear gentle Voice, and if you heed His commands, you will begin to discover that the Lord will do amazing things through your life. They may not be extraordinarily public and noticeable by all, but they will be far more than you ever thought possible. Do not be amazed at God’s Will for your life and do not hesitate to believe what He calls you to do. Say “Yes” and leave the rest to Him.
Lord, to whatever You call me I say “Yes.” If Your Will is that I live a quiet hidden life, offering my daily duties as a sacrifice to You, I say “Yes.” If it is Your Will that my life become very public and that You use me in this way for the good of the Church, then I say “Yes.” Lord, my life is Yours, do with me what You will. Jesus, I trust in You.