On the Calendar: St. John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross

“Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.”

St. John of the Cross

As you may have noticed, it was St. John of the Cross who inspired the title of this blog. He has so much to teach those who are discerning their vocation! Over the years, he has had a tremendous influence on my prayer, and during my discernment journey, his poetry has often been the source of great consolation. Perhaps most importantly, he has taught me the true meaning of holy detachment: I seek to empty my heart not for emptiness’ sake, but rather for the sake of Christ, that He might have a dwelling place in me. I strive to love Christ alone not in order to deny my love to others, but rather in order to love them more fully in Christ. I desire to possess nothing – ¡nada! – because of an even greater desire to possess the Beloved.

If you’re interested in becoming a student of this great Doctor of the Church, be sure to begin with a good introduction to his work. Too many well-meaning people begin reading St. John without being introduced to him in the proper way, and without the necessary background, they often misunderstand his most crucial teachings. For starters, I would recommend the following books:

  • The Impact of God: Soundings from St. John of the Cross by Iain Matthew (This book definitely has a place in my Top 10 Books for Spiritual Reading. Like Story of a Soul and Happy Are You Poor, it really did change my life!)
  • Fire Within by Fr. Thomas Dubay, SM (All of Fr. Dubay’s books are fantastic, but this one is particularly helpful as a school of contemplative prayer.)
  • The Poems of St. John of the Cross translated by W. Barnstone (I love how this volume presents the Spanish and English on facing pages. The sound and feeling of St. John’s Spanish is practically impossible to translate, but Barnstone has made an impressive attempt to capture the sense of the original poems.)

St. John of the Cross, pray for us!



Filed under On the Calendar, Quotes, Recommendations

5 responses to “On the Calendar: St. John of the Cross

  1. Kim

    Hi! In the beginning of my spiritual walk I found that version of ‘The Poems of St. John of the Cross’ that you talk about, and I still remember standing outside a store as I opened this treasure and the rapturous love and joy that poured into my soul! It DEFINITELY had an impact on my life! 🙂

  2. Kim

    P.S. I’m going to check out ‘Happy are You Poor’! Thanks for sharing!

  3. quixotepanza

    Just wondering if this blog is still alive. I have been reading St John of the Cross for 25 years and even took a trip to Segovia last year to do research on a book that I have talking about writing for 24 years.
    Does anyone come here anymore? It is interesting that the only two comments are from the same person and on the anniversary of John’s death.

    • Yes, the blog lives! I took a break for Lent, but now I’m back!

      25 years reading John of the Cross! I feel like I am going to need at least that long to really learn what he is trying to teach me.

      Do let me know if you ever write that book!

      – Charity

  4. Pingback: On the Calendar: St. John of the Cross | By Love Alone

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