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

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 soul that has reached the union of love does not even experience the first motions of sin.

The soul that in aridity and trial submits to the dictates of reason is more pleasing to God than one that does everything with consolation, yet fails in this submission.

The soul that journeys to God, but does not shake off its cares and quiet its appetites, is like one who drags a cart uphill.

The soul that travels in the light and verities of the faith is secured against error, for error proceeds ordinarily from our own proper desires, tastes, reflections, and understanding, wherein there is generally too much or too little; and hence the inclination to that which is not seemly.

The soul that walks in love neither tires others nor grows tired.

The soul that would draw near unto God and unite itself with Him, must do so by not comprehending rather than by comprehending, in utter forgetfulness of created things; because it must change the mutable and comprehensible for the immutable and the incomprehensible, Who is God.

The soul would want to remain in that unintelligible peace as in its right place. Since people do not understand the mystery of that new experience, they imagine themselves to be idle and doing nothing.

The spirit feels itself to be deeply and passionately in love.

The submission of a servant is necessary in seeking God. In outward things light helps to prevent one from falling; but in the things of God just the opposite is true: It is better for the soul not to see if it is to be more secure.

The touch of this love and Divine fire dries up the spirit and enkindles its desires, so much so that it turns upon itself a thousand times and desires God in a thousand ways.

The traits of the solitary bird are five: first, it seeks the highest place; second, it withstands no company; third, it holds its beak in the air; fourth, it has no definite color; fifth, it sings sweetly. These traits must be possessed by the contemplative soul. It must rise above passing things, paying no more heed to them than if they did not exist. It must likewise be so fond of silence and solitude that it does not tolerate the company of another creature. It must hold its beak in the air of the Holy Spirit, responding to his inspirations, that by so doing it may become worthy of his company. It must have no definite color, desiring to do nothing definite other than the will of God. It must sing sweetly in the contemplation and love of its Bridegroom.

The very pure spirit does not bother about the regard of others or human respect, but communes inwardly with God, alone and in solitude as to all forms, and with delightful tranquility, for the knowledge of God is received in divine silence.

The soul must be attached to nothing ? not even to any kind of meditation or sweetness. The spirit needs to be so free and so completely annihilated that any thought or meditation which the soul in this state might desire, or any pleasure to which it may conceive an attachment, would impede and disturb it and would introduce noise into the deep silence which it is meet that the soul should observe so that it may hear the deep and delicate voice of God which speaks to the heart in this secret place.

The soul must go to God by not comprehending rather than by comprehending and it must exchange the mutable and comprehensible for the Immutable and Incomprehensible.

The soul says to God, ?Perfect me now if it be Thy will.?

The soul that carries within itself the least appetite for worldly things bears more unseemliness and impurity in its journey to God than if it were troubled by all the hideous and annoying temptations and darknesses describable; for, so long as it does not consent to these temptations, a soul thus tried can approach God confidently, by doing the will of His Majesty, who proclaims: Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will refresh you [Mt. 11:28].

The soul that desires God to surrender himself to it entirely must surrender itself entirely to him without keeping anything for itself.

The soul is exalted in purest faith, which God then infuses and augments much more abundantly. As a result the soul enjoys divine and lofty knowledge by means of the dark and naked habit of faith.

The soul itself should be destroyed since these passions and imperfections have become natural to it.

The soul learns to commune with God with more respect and more courtesy.

The soul loses the strength of its passions and concupiscence and it becomes sterile because it no longer consults its likings.

The soul is aware only of its own wretchedness ? and esteems neighbors.

The secret of one's conscience is considerably harmed and damaged as often as its fruits are manifested to others, for then one receives as reward the fruit of fleeting fame.

The sensual part is purified in aridity, the faculties are purified in the emptiness of their perceptions and the spirit is purified in thick darkness.

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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