Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez

Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez
1542
1591

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

Author Quotes

Seek in reading and you will find in meditation; knock in prayer and it will be opened to you in contemplation.

Since a double measure of bitterness must follow the doing of your own will, do not do it even though you remain in single bitterness.

Since God is inaccessible, be careful not to concern yourself with all that your faculties can comprehend and your senses feel, so that you do not become satisfied with less and lose the lightness of soul suitable for going to him.

Since, when the hour of reckoning comes, you will be sorry for not having used this time in the service of God, why do you not arrange and use it now as you would wish to have done were you dying?

Some of these beginners, too, make little of their faults, and at other times become over-sad when they see themselves fall into them, thinking themselves to have been saints already; and thus they become angry and impatient with themselves, which is another imperfection. Often they beseech God, with great yearnings, that He will take from them their imperfections and faults, but they do this that they may find themselves at peace, and may not be troubled by them, rather than for God's sake; not realizing that, if He should take their imperfections from them, they would probably become prouder and more presumptuous still. They dislike praising others and love to be praised themselves; sometimes they seek out such praise. Herein they are like the foolish virgins, who, when their lamps could not be lit, sought oil from others.

Preserve a habitual remembrance of eternal life, recalling that those who hold themselves the lowest and poorest and least of all will enjoy the highest dominion and glory in God.

Pray in our secret chamber, or in the solitary wilderness, and at the best and most quiet time of night.

One dark night, fired with love's urgent longings ? ah, the sheer grace! ? I went out unseen, my house being now all stilled. In darkness, and secure, by the secret ladder, disguised, ? ah, the sheer grace! ? in darkness and concealment, my house being now all stilled.

One hour of purgation here is more profitable than are many there.

One human thought alone is worth more than the entire world, hence God alone is worthy of it.

Our journey toward God must proceed through the negation of all. One should remain in emptiness and darkness regarding all creatures. He should base his love and joy on what he neither sees nor feels ? that is, upon God who is incomprehensible and transcendent.

Outward light enables us to see that we may not fall; it is otherwise in the things of God, for there it is better not to see, and the soul is in greater security.

Pay no attention to anything which your faculties can grasp. You should never desire satisfaction in what you understand about God, but in what you do not understand about Him Never stop with loving and delighting in your understanding and experience of God, but love and delight in what is neither understandable nor perceptible of Him.

Perfection does not lie in the virtues that the soul knows it has, but in the virtues that our Lord sees in it. This is a closed book; hence one has no reason for presumption, but must remain prostrate on the ground with respect to self.

Oh, how happy is this soul that is ever conscious of God resting and reposing within its breast!

Oh, how sweet your presence will be to me, you who are the supreme good! I must draw near you in silence and uncover your feet that you may be pleased to unite me to you in marriage [Ru. 3:7], and I will not rest until I rejoice in your arms. Now I ask you, Lord, not to abandon me at any time in my recollection, for I am a squanderer of my soul.

Oh, night that guided me, Oh, night more lovely than the dawn, Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover, Lover transformed in the Beloved!

Old friends of God scarcely ever fail him, for they stand above all that can make them fail.

On a dark night, kindled in love with yearnings ? oh, happy chance! ? I went forth without being observed, my house being now at rest. In darkness and secure, by the secret ladder, disguised ? oh, happy chance! ? In darkness and in concealment, my house being now at rest.

O sweetest love of God, so little known, whoever has found this rich mine is at rest!

Often God communicates to the soul, when it is least expecting it, the purest spiritual sweetness and love, together with a spiritual knowledge which is sometimes very delicate (and cannot be perceived by sense).

Oh night thou was my guide. Oh night more loving than the rising sun. Oh night that joined the lover to the beloved one transforming each of them into the other.

O killing north wind, cease! Come, south wind, that awakenest love! Blow through my garden, and let its odours flow, and the Beloved shall feed among the flowers.

O Lord, my God, who will seek you with simple and pure love, and not find that you are all one can desire, for you show yourself first and go out to meet those who seek you?

O Lord, my God, you are no stranger to those who do not estrange themselves from you. How do they say that it is you who absent yourself?

Author Picture
First Name
Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez
Birth Date
1542
Death Date
1591
Bio

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