Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez

Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez

Spanish Priest, Friar, Poet, Catholic Mystic, Major Figure in the Counter-Reformation

Author Quotes

Those who trust in themselves are worse than the devil.

Though the path is plain and smooth for people of good will, those who walk it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty if they do not have good feet, courage, and tenacity of spirit.

To be taken with love for a soul, God does not look on its greatness, but the greatness of its humility.

To lose always and let everyone else win is a trait of valiant souls, generous spirits, and unselfish hearts; it is their manner to give rather than receive even to the extent of giving themselves. They consider it a heavy burden to possess themselves, and it pleases them more to be possessed by others and withdrawn from themselves, since we belong more to that infinite Good than we do to ourselves.

To reach the supernatural bounds a person must depart from his natural bounds and leave self far off in respect to his interior and exterior limits in order to mount from a low state to the highest.

Trials will never be lacking in religious life, nor does God want them to be. Since he brings souls there to be proved and purified, like gold, with hammer and the fire, it is fitting that they encounter trials and temptations... and the fire of anguish and affliction.

Twelve stars for reaching the highest perfection: love of God, love of neighbor, obedience, chastity, poverty, attendance at choir, penance, humility, mortification, prayer, silence, peace.

Understanding is not the understanding of God. The will has now been changed into the life of Divine love. The memory has in its mind the eternal years. The desire now tastes and enjoys Divine food, being now moved by the delight of God.

This Divine wisdom is night and darkness for the soul, and affliction and torment.

This love is not as a rule felt at first, but only the dryness and emptiness. The soul then experiences a habitual care and solicitude with respect to God. This Divine love begins to be enkindled in the spirit.

They must learn to abide in that quietude with a loving attentiveness to God. At this stage the faculties are at rest and do not work actively but passively, by receiving what God is effecting in them.

Think not that pleasing God lies so much in doing a great deal as in doing it with good will, without possessiveness and human respect.

The virtues and properties of God, which are perfect in the extreme, war against the habits and properties of the soul, which are imperfect in the extreme, so that the soul has to suffer the existence of two contraries within it. This flame of love makes the soul feel its hardness and aridity.

The virtuous soul that is alone and without a master is like a lone burning coal; it will grow colder rather than hotter.

The way of faith is sound and safe, and along this souls must journey on from virtue to virtue, shutting their eyes against every object of sense and a clear and particular perception.

The way to conduct themselves is to allow the soul to remain in peace and quietness, although it may seem clear to them that they are doing nothing and are wasting their time? What they must do is merely to leave the soul free and disencumbered and at rest from all knowledge and thought? but contenting themselves with merely a peaceful and loving attentiveness toward God, and in being without anxiety, ability and desire to have experience of Him or to perceive Him.

The wounded soul, strengthened from the fire caused by the wound, went out after her Beloved Who wounded her, calling for Him, that He might heal her. One goes out from oneself through self-forgetfulness.

There are souls that wallow in the mire like animals, and there are others that soar like birds, which purify and cleanse themselves in the air.

There are three signs of inner recollection: first, a lack of satisfaction in passing things; second, a liking for solitude and silence, and an attentiveness to all that is more perfect; third, the considerations, meditations and acts that formerly helped the soul now hinder it, and it brings to prayer no other support than faith, hope, and love.

There He taught me the science full of sweetness. And there I gave to Him myself without reserve; there I promised to be His bride.

There is nothing better or more necessary than love.

There thou wilt show me that which my soul desired; and there Thou wilt give at once, O Thou, my life! That which Thou gavest me the other day.

These wounds, which are the fires of God, are the sparks of these tender touches of flame which touch the soul intermittently and proceed from the fire of love, which is not idle, but whose flames strike and wound my soul in its deepest center.

They are not things of this world and that manage and soul destroying it, because they do not enter into it, but the desire and longing for them that dwell upon it.

They are so sensible that they sometimes cause not only the soul but also the body to tremble. Yet at other times with a sudden feeling of spiritual delight and refreshment, and without any trembling, they occur very tranquilly in the spirit. Since this knowledge is imparted to the soul suddenly, without exercise of free will, a person does not have to be concerned about desiring it or not. He should simply remain humble and resigned about it, for God will do His work at the time and in the manner he wishes.

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Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez
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Spanish Priest, Friar, Poet, Catholic Mystic, Major Figure in the Counter-Reformation