St. John of the Cross, December 14

Today is the commemoration of the great Spanish mystic, St. John of the Cross. My blog post from last year is here.

As a complement to last year’s quotation from “The Dark Night of the Soul,” a few stanzas from “The Spiritual Canticle:”

SONG OF THE SOUL AND THE BRIDEGROOM

I

THE BRIDE

Where have You hidden Yourself,

And abandoned me in my groaning, O my Beloved?

You have fled like the hart,

Having wounded me.

I ran after You, crying; but You were gone.

II

O shepherds, you who go

Through the sheepcots up the hill,

If you shall see Him

Whom I love the most,

Tell Him I languish, suffer, and die.

III

In search of my Love

I will go over mountains and strands;

I will gather no flowers,

I will fear no wild beasts;

And pass by the mighty and the frontiers.

IV

O groves and thickets

Planted by the hand of the Beloved;

O verdant meads

Enameled with flowers,

Tell me, has He passed by you?

V

ANSWER OF THE CREATURES

A thousand graces diffusing

He passed through the groves in haste,

And merely regarding them

As He passed

Clothed them with His beauty.

VI

THE BRIDE

Oh! who can heal me?

Give me at once Yourself,

Send me no more

A messenger

Who cannot tell me what I wish.

VII

All they who serve are telling me

Of Your unnumbered graces;

And all wound me more and more,

And something leaves me dying,

I know not what, of which they are darkly speaking.

VIII

But how you persevere, O life,

Not living where you live;

The arrows bring death

Which you receive

From your conceptions of the Beloved.